I continue to maintain resentment that spiritual wisdom is my only interest. I first chose resentment by virtue my eighth grade epiphany that women are considered less than men. I had long thought that I would graduate eighth grade, go on to seminary and eventually be ordained a Catholic priest. By the time I reached eighth grade I realized that the church was teaching that if a man took a wife, that condition would so defame him so as to make the man unfit as a priest. Was this a rule I was taught? No, but it implication is unmistakable. The silly rules I knew of and that were imposed on women, by the church, took on a new meaning and a new urgency to make sense of it all troubled me.
There were rules designed for women only. Women could not be priests. They had to cover their head in church, men could not. What is that supposed to mean? At the time the church taught that it was a sin for women to wear pants. It was also a sin for a woman to use a tampon. I think the list was a bit longer, but being a man I am ignorant, these rules did not apply to me. It was not hard to notice that women did not make these rules, men did. I could not abide by this shaming of women. It made no sense to me and I began to question my expectation to become a Catholic priest. I never went to seminary and I resented the lies I had been told by the church. If I could not trust the church, how do I reconcile my life with God? This was when I first realized that I would have to find my own way. That men did not speak for God.
I would like to trust the church. I could have made a career out of that. How about the sense of community, of belonging? None of that for me. If you are a part of a church you are part of a network that enriches life in many ways. The God Club supplies support in countless ways. It can be a powerful tool for wealth. People in turn claim that their prosperity, and good fortune, is due to their faith in God. Without the church, a like-minded support group, I think things might be a little different. There is a vested interest in seeing the members of your church succeed. The success can be pointed to and the claim made that it is due to God. What about the network of support, could that have anything to do with it? You need to raise funds for a charitable enterprise and you turn to your church. It is not hard to see that it is the network of like-minded people gathered together for a common purpose that deserves the credit given to God. Churches do wonderful things and it is good to have support but the notion that God favors one above the other is insulting. Not to God of course. What insult could God possibly suffer? It is an insult to ourselves.
Reading that last paragraph it is easy to see that the vein of resentment, my resentment, runs deep. Before sitting to write this post I had long believed resentment of my spiritual drive was rooted in my high school years. I had always thought of this eighth grade epiphany as a turning point but never as the onset of my spiritual resentment. I have learned a great deal by finding my own path. My determination that no man, no book, reveals God has left me to trust God. I believe that wherever I am God makes God available. Providence. I do not seek the false shelter of religion to shepherd God.
I like to think that my pursuit of God, on Gods terms, reveals a secret that is itself success. Well that is a nice thought, maybe it does. And there is that resentment jumping out like the boogeyman. I am writing about this to unravel the physical sensation that is caused by this resentment. I can feel it and it is uncomfortable. In looking to understand what it is, this is what I find. The words I am writing.
One of the things I have long associated my spiritual resentment to is the belief that I would have to make public my spiritual curiosity and its product. That was a realization I became aware of in high school. Now that I am actively doing that it has forced me to deal with the resentment and so this post. I need to find a way not to feel this way about it, to grow past it. My curiosity is a good thing as is whatever it reveals.
Thanks for reading.
Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013