What was your religious background?
#3
My family was of the "Christmas" Catholic variety on my mom's side aside from my grandparents and on on my dad's side my grandpa wasn't very religious while my grandma was a devout Catholic till death. My mother was a lapsed Catholic who kept the guilt and some of the mythos with none of the doctrine.  She ended up really into fairies, ghosts and other supernatural neo pagan/ neo hippie sort of things spiritually, but she never pushed me in any direction.  My father who never lived with me was a former Catholic school graduate and altar boy turned vehement anti Catholic and even anti Christian.  I truly think he was probably molested but to this day, due to our somewhat lukewarm relationship I would never discuss the subject.  He'll take it to his grave as far as I'm concerned.  He was the one who insisted that none of us get baptized until adulthood when we could make our own decisions about matters of religion. 

  I was always VERY sensitive and into spiritual things, and deeply impressed by various religious and spiritual ideals. I used to go to Church with the grandparents on my mom's side and was taught basics by my grandmother.  I still recall the giant bas relief St. Michael the Archangel outside the entry to their working class Michigan factory town parish, and it left a huge impression on my young mind.  Never at that age did dogma play a role, it was just me trying to make sense of life and feel things out in terms of the God I always believed in but didn't really understand.  

In middle school my friends brother was crushed to death under a truck outside a local lakeside grocery store, and me being the sensitive kid I was felt devastated by it, trying to make sense of it.  I would read everything I could about religion and spirituality from the library and my mom's musty old books from her college years.  This was in the early 90's so pre internet.  I remember getting that CD "Chant" when it first came out and being completely entranced by it, thinking,  "this music is from God", and despite going down very different paths a bit later on that feeling never left me. 

Fast forward a few years and I was angry inside, dealing with home issues and a bully at school.  I turned inward even more, chasing some way of escape.  Ironically I had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and still had bully issues, but I guess I was thinking if I hurt someone bad I'd end up getting beat down by this kids friends or something.  The fear from those years lives with me to this day, and even now I generally don't jive well with other men and do not generally let my guard down around people.  What does this have to do with religion?  It eventually brought me to bridge the gap between all the fantasy RPGs and books I was reading (LOTR, Dragonlance,Lone Wolf etc.) with mythology and my desire to escape my frightened life with Wicca, Ceremonial Magick and even black/death metal and satanic imagery.  I found a group of friends who engaged in rituals in my basement with me, complete with calling on elements, visualizing sigils and in general acting as if we were badass magicians with the power to bring some sort of order out of the chaos of our lives.  I fell heavy into marijuana smoking, magic mushrooms and heavy opiate use.  Despite all this something felt off about all the magickal posturing and once I left high school I fell away from that into Buddhism.  I won't bore you all with the details of that part of the journey but eventually while on my mail route I had this strange yet powerful experience of Christ, and Matthew 11:29 took hold of me.  It was as if Christ were REALLY there, speaking to me, not with words but with His presence.  At that moment I was convinced He was real but not sure where to start really learning about Him. I ended up reading Seraphim Rose's "Nihilism" and getting into Orthodoxy, along with reading stuff like the Rule of St. Benedict and the Flowers of St. Francis. I ended up in RCIA. (I started that process back in '00 but drug use and my Buddhist ways ruined it). Somehow, despite myself and how antisocial I sort of am, and despite despising the New Mass with every fiber of my being, I managed to get through and get baptized. In that period I read literally everything I could, from the Bible to the Church Fathers, contemporary theology, polemics, history-- you name it.  Orthodoxy was still pulling me.  I had found Christ but if I was brutally honest with myself I was Orthodox in doctrine and just flat out didn't believe in the claims of the RCC. Today I am happily Orthodox and have no desire to leave.  I never lost my faith in Christ, the Christ who came to me that day on my mail route.  

In conclusion, my religious background was all over the place, but ultimately Christ was somehow present and leading me all throughout to where I am today.  

I've left out many details and wrote this in a half assed way on my phone so forgive whatever sounds poor or rambling.  It's been one hell of a journey for sure.  What a great idea for a thread!  Can't wait to read a bit of others stories.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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RE: What was your religious background? - by formerbuddhist - 02-06-2020, 08:04 PM



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