Day by Day

Published January 13, 2014 by Sandee

I believe the Bible is a collection of metaphors.  People just have this colorful way of speaking.  It’s how we communicate.  A lot of symbolism in religion is intuition.

It’s about energy.  Very scientific, really.  Call it what you want.  But I believe when people congregate in a place of worship we create energy that connects us to people.

A friend wanted to go to church, so I went with her yesterday.

However, I like distance from organized religion because ministers are just vehicles for the spirit, but they are flawed humans.

I love Jesus — the symbol Jesus.  He carries our sins because we’re weak – it’s the way we’re made.  That’s why spiritual leaders have spiritual leaders.  They need someone to advise them so they don’t form cults, and tell people God told them to have sex with them, or to drink Kool-Aid with cyanide in it.

I do need a spiritual leader, some authority.  I have to appreciate that the spiritual leader is human, to have compassion for that.

Religions and spiritual texts have exercises where at the end of the day you assess your behavior – it’s necessary to function in a healthy way.

There are people who take the message too literally, tainting the idea of religion.

There is no cosmic Santa Claus, as the minister of my family church has said. God’s not going to save me from disease, death, debt – maybe to an extent.  I don’t think it makes sense for me to think that I made it through something death-defying because God loves me.  I’m sure there are people involved in some of the myriad tragedies who believed and who were worthy of this “salvation”, but didn’t “make it”.  We’re so self-centered.  I do believe it’s okay to thank God that you did come through.

God is my higher consciousness.  When I’m aligned with it, I get the answers to problems, because I open my energy up by being willing.

My spirit life is about radiating positive energy within challenges I face with people day to day.  It’s also about facing death, my own death, the death of loved ones.

I think the way we look at death encourages gluttony, greed, and hatred.  We believe it’s so final, that we cling to temporal things, including other lives.  That energy is transformed and not final.  I don’t know what happens when we die, but I should be okay with it because it’s natural.  So why is death bad?

You see it on refrigerator magnets, but really, we only have today.  That’s where my joy and so-called blessings are – not in the future after I’ve obtained my goals.

My spiritual quest is about learning how to stay in the present and being alive where I am now.   This makes my life more manageable and I can start new each day.

The minister who preached at my family church was intellectual, but he would build up a fervor, after he captured you with reason.

Reason is what keeps me faithful, despite outward appearance.  I say vile things, and contemplate evil, but in the end my spirit strives for moderation.  Mostly I walk in a certain direction, despite what I say.  But sometimes I am mischievous.  Sometimes I don’t want anything to do with God.

I don’t want to preach.  Maybe I have here – fuck it.  This is just my experience.  I believe that the universe is vast, and that the possibilities are just as vast.  And there’s so much I don’t know.  Why shouldn’t I embrace the idea of God? There, I said it.

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156 comments on “Day by Day

  • I think one of the things I like most about my Church is that none of the local leaders are compensated. It’s all volunteer work. This way you know they want to be there for you, not themselves. Good post.

  • Awesome post Sandee! It is quite interesting to read what you believe/think. I do agree, living is the moment is most important. It’s something I have to keep telling myself… Spiritual leader, hmmm. I don’t believe in that, the Holy Spirit is mine. This is why i like you blog so much, you’re not afraid to blog your mind.
    You rock!

    • Thanks so much Shauna! I’m so glad you can appreciate what I’ve said, especially since I know that you have a strong faith and some tradition in that area. Your support makes me feel ‘legitimate’ — hahaha!

    • Yes! there is no Spiritual Leader. No human being has more Spirit than the other. God gave us the same measure. In the Spirit, nobody leads except the Holy Spirit.

      • My God!!! It’s what I’ve been telling people over and over again. You find that people are devoted to church norms, like at Catholic, not that I have something against it, but they believe the pastor is the closest to God… I think we lose ourselves once we head that way… Amen

        • Totally agree with you too Mpilez. That is why the church has fallen. People just stripped themselves of the beautiful right to connect with God directly because they believe someone else is more holy and can do it for them. People just don’t know that we were given each the same amount of Spirit and that gives each individual direct access to God. It is very sad considering the times we are living.

  • My sweet Sandee…there is never a dull moment with you. Your post is powerful, provocative and amazingly candid. Several points resonated quite strongly with me….hell, for a moment there I thought: Sandee could be my spiritual leader! Seriously, thank you for sharing your beautiful soul and addictive energy. Peace & love to you…always.

    • Theresa — this means a lot to me! Thanks so much! I was hoping to get feedback. When I write something like this, I am, in a sense, reaching out spiritually to communicate with others. I’m so glad you could identify with some of it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting — I really appreciate it.

  • So thoughtful, Sandee! I want to embrace something more. Sometimes, I just want there to be something more. I do enjoy church in the rare times that I go to share it with other people. Sometimes, that can feel like a real positive force. Great post. I’m glad you said it!

    • Thanks Amy! I think I became an alcoholic (I’m sober now) because I was looking for a spiritual life. I was reaching for more than the material world could offer. It was a spiritual awakening that got me sober — the higher consciousness.

  • In my youth I was subject to 12 years of Catholic schooling, what I refer to as atheist training, but that’s my take on religion. Your articulate take on spirituality, something that I do not personally relate to, is something I can respect.

    • Hey Thanks LA! I must say I’ve heard a few stories from people who consider themselves ‘reformed Catholics’.

      I’m glad you can appreciate the post — I always hope to be able to communicate in a way that people can ‘hear’ what I’m saying, or at least I hope what I’ve written inspires people to think (not to be pretentious or anything).

  • Do you know what I love most about this, Sandee? It is all introspection and no judgement. The judgement and the trappings of religion are what turn me off of most of the churches I attend, but it is the searching and the love that I see embodied in Jesus that makes me return. Loved this, and no, it was not at all preachy.

  • Whew! I was hoping that people could see that this is all my own journey, with a few outside observations thrown in. Thanks Emily. Sort of in the vein of what you say, I am impressed by the people I’ve met who actually LIVE the word and who embody the principles of Jesus — people who aren’t zealots, judgemental or ‘beatified’, just humble beings who have — I believe — been born again. I do know the other type however — hahahaha!

  • When I was young I told my grandmother I wasnt sure I believed in God (angry over a death in the family)…she said “Thats OK, he believes in you.” Not only did it change how I thought, but I still remember her words everyday. A brave post !

  • “Spooky action” up-close. The Certainty Principle. I, for one, am Buddhist and my cup is 3/4 full. I am grateful to have this precious opportunity of human existence, although from my actions at a few distinctly different periods in my life that fact may have been difficult to appreciate. In the end, you judge a book by its content.

  • I love this, admitting we need a Savior (or a spiritual leader, or an authority in our lives) is so brave! It takes a lot of guts to believe in something bigger than ourselves! I really enjoyed this post, as it really captures your place in your journey! Always seeking, always growing, I love your honesty and courage in this candid post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Well, of course hindsight is 20/20 so duh! but what you wrote, that’s pretty much what I think. And by no means I am trying to suck it up to you. You know me.

    Also, it bothers me that my return to your blog coincides with you being pressed. Like if somehow, NOW that you are all pressed and fancy, I remember you exist. I have missed your blog and all the laughs you always give me.

    So, shall we celebrate with cake?

  • Nice job Sandee! There are so many different ways to feel the spirit and the power of God. I liked your honesty. You definitely shouldn’t be afraid of death! It’s just comforting to know that we’re watched over know matter how naughty and dumb we are haha! That is a comfort to me!

  • Thanks for inviting us in to your spiritual journey. Without wanting to sound ‘preachy’ my spiritual searchings over many years brought me to the very place I began to think about God as a little boy – The Christian Church. I remember as a young boy a friend asked me that if I could meet anyone in the world who ever existed it would be Jesus. He just seemed to be there all the time.

  • I think you really hit upon something people often forget. Religion is supposed to provide people with methods to connect to God, but people get so wound up in doing things the “right” way, that the point of it all is missed. May your journey be filled with peace, Sandee. 🙂

  • There’s a theory, ToM (or theory of mind) that could explain the human need to believe in or seek comfort from a deity. Check out the article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16725-theory-of-mind-could-help-explain-belief-in-god.html#.UuBDWfso7Dc

    Apparently, there’s a region of the brain (or regions) that control our religiosity. Once those parts of the brain had evolved to what they are now, humans started to formulate ideas about deities. Of course each deity is relevant to each particular culture, region and time in history.

    While, I’m an atheist, I do have to say that the human belief in deities fascinates me. So the article is an interesting read regardless of your faith or lack of faith.

    • Some of the best people I know are atheists — better than some of the worst holy rollers. When I realized, like William James, that the idea of God is real because we say he’s real and the energy created on that thought is regenerative, I begrudgingly accepted that I wanted to pursue the God path. I’ve read things that spoke about the part of the brain that seeks this need as well. But I thought hell, if Socrates, Jung, Malcolm X, Cornell West, Kierkegaard, and the grocer down the street who exhibits great principle and common sense could believe, I can believe as well. Totally my choice to perceive my existence with this idea incorporated into it. It has proved to be healing. But I respect everyone’s journey.

  • It is hard to read what you wrote and not believe that you “embrace the idea of God”. I think what is hard about God is when we call him by a name. When we decide to say “God” and then can’t stop ourselves from imagining a being of some sort instead of a vast concept that our minds have no earthly value for. If I was to say, “the universe” instead of “God” it is usually easier for the non-religious to take in. But it really doesn’t matter what we call it. Something is around us that has an authentic connection to our souls (or energy). The possibilities for what exactly that is “are just as vast”. Thanks for writing this. Always nice to engage on topics I don’t write on.

  • Congrats on the Freshly Pressed! I always like it when posts having to do with spirituality get recognized, and I enjoy seeing the varied comments. I also have a lot of atheist friends, and when I write about God and spirituality, I try to envision them as my audience. If God is about connecting with humanity, how come so many “religious” humans spend their time judging and alienating other humans in the name of “God?”
    Have you ever read any of of Brian McLaren’s books? If not, I definitely recommend him. You would like his emergent theology – also, check out the Wild Goose Festival – it’s an awesome annual conference in N.C.
    Blessings – congrats again!

  • Reblogged this on Magical rainbow unicorn land and commented:
    The unconventional and challenging can produce the best results, religion is always open for interpretation and as each and everyone if us is a individual, completely different from the next, we learn, think, understand, feel in different ways. Religion and faith is highly personal, and just because others believe or do things in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s best for you. To understand religion, even on a personal level, one must gain an understanding of oneself and people in general. This post highlights some ways in which individuality can be stronger, can majorly affect religion.

  • This is a brilliant perspective. I like your open-mindedness and willingness to explore the possibilities. I was raised a believer and went through a “militant atheist” phase, but as I’ve matured and experienced life I’ve softened a lot and find myself appreciating religion and spirituality. I’m still not a believer but I think these things are valuable and necessary aspects of the human experience and dismissing them solely because of non-belief is missing the point entirely. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much for your comment Billy. I really appreciate that you understand my perspective even though you aren’t a believer. I always hope that I can communicate to people, and that they will be open to what I’m saying, no matter what.

      • It takes an open mind for starters. I have learned (and still learning) the we have more in common than not. We tend to make the differences the focal point when there is so much more to a person. Besides, I’m fascinated by the various beliefs of other people. I like exposing my worldview to different ideas and opinions. Keeps me growing and learning. Stagnant grey matter is a waste. I’m following you now so I’m looking forward to more great writing. Thanks!

        • Thanks for following Billy! I think fear drives some of the focus that we have on our differences and we wind up fighting for resources, when there is really enough for everyone. But I’m a fuzzy-headed idealist! I always say, now that the world is smaller, there are greater opportunities to transmit some of the ideas that will make the world more united.

          • I agree, fear definitely drives some of it. Maybe even most of it. That’s why it’s important to put yourself out there and expose yourself to those differences. It’s like walking into a dark room before turning on the light and realizing there was never really anything to be afraid of. Just our own inhibitions and prejudices getting in the way.

  • no offense to the “believers” but the “good book” is the popular fiction of its time and like any work of fiction it has strains of truth in it so the reader will relate to it. It relies on fear and myth. It is very reckless. In and of itself, mean spirited. Why women would ever agree to the station it allows them, is beyond my comprehension. It is very interesting in the context of history. It is very interesting how it can be used and or abused. It preys on the weakest. And spells it, “Pray”, as if begging is necessary. Spiritually, i’d suggest you are perfect as you are. You don’t need to be legitimized by anything man made. Your beauty shines because of your questions and seeking. Not your knowing or your preaching. Good luck with the religious folks. They only really accept you if you “join” ’em. The rest is pity. Do you want to be pitied? symbolism is great… it’s all about communication. What those symbols mean however, is limited. One time, before a Fascist named Hitler got a hold of it, a swastika symbolized peace.

    • I would not disagree with your perspective on scripture. It is all these things because it was about real people. Real people then do what real people do now. Me being part of a denomination which has women ministers and also being a person who relates to women in ministry as equal, I would be interested to know your thoughts on the many women in both old and new scriptures who were both ministers and gave prophesy. Women made great impact on both cultural (clan) change as well as missional change. The new testament gives specific stance that ministry is for all mankind. Mankind is everyone. I point this out because I read from several responses in this thread that indicate a tone that scripture is dull and marked by men. I also don’t want to cloud up this good article with discussions that go back and fourth for the sake of us proving our thoughts. If anyone wishes to respond, out of respect for Sandee, please send your response to my email at andy@plhpublishing.com Peace.

      • I don’t think we are “clouding up” the author’s good article by discussing our thoughts. I don’t think we are trying to prove one another wrong or right for our own sakes. I think the author touched on the gaps between us humans and how difficult to find understanding in context of the Bible. I love how she stimulated this discussion through her honest experience of her own spirituality. I was married by a methodist minister who co-ministers with his wife in a very special community of people. I am not Christian, but my life was saved by a member of this church who acted out of their belief in Jesus. She is a remarkable woman who embodies service and compassion. I absolutely respect the author and the many sweet points of view that are inspired by the toleration she demonstrates. I also really appreciate the opportunity to “expound”. However, since I am brand spanking new to blogging, and/or if I’ve gone off point or am entering into this wrongly, I apologize for distracting from the article. Religion is a touchy subject, takes courage to allow a frank discussion.

  • So many people over the years up to when the King James version came out have placed entries and their own translations that a lot of truth is askewed. That’s why only astute students of Religion can find the right meanings and expound upon them.

    • In response to Kennecttome2: “Right” meanings is a silly if not offensive way of of defending religion. And what qualifies as an “astute” student? Is that about a theology course or a philosophy one? Does one need to study all comparative religions or just ascribe to the “right” Christian college? Or maybe Joseph Campbell “expounded” on organized religion best when he wrote The Masks of God, creative mythology also interviewed by Bill Moyers in the Power of Myth? Or maybe what do you think of Nietzsche’s fundamental problems with religion and then how his religious sister changed his writings after he died to appear more christian and there for more “right” in meaning? If the meanings can only be reached by “astute” students, is organized religion really working or is it just a luxury afforded those with an overman complex?

      • I went to a Christian supported college my first two years of undergrad. My second semester, a kid on my residence hall got stabbed in a fight after he and another unknown kid spent some time boozing it up and talking to the same girl. My point. Christian or not, religion or not, there are some things we as humans are capable of discerning as stupid and wrong, smart and right. For many people, the format of doctrine they subscribe to provides a means of understanding the importance of doing things, in the name of God, that are right and true and on many different levels. I would agree students who crave and commit to theological understanding in all aspects of this worlds religions, especially their own doctrine of belief, do gain a better understanding of what is, not especially right; however, more appropriate of a belief. Church does not always provide this understanding simply because a message from the pulpit is a limited delivery. This is why we have study classes and further education which expounds. Expounding happens when we question, seek and at least find some understanding. Like many of us in the thread, that understanding evolves into wonderful things. Doctrine itself though has an important role because it gives people a basis from which to believe and address that belief. Just like a music concert, a ceremony, or a public gathering which supports a social/political belief, church of any denomination provides a mass gathering all at the same time around many parts of the world of people like you and me, of differences; however common threads, to worship Gods love. I am speaking now from my own belief. We are broken individuals. That is ok. Through helping one another, Gods’ grace heals. Even those stupid idiots who hurt one another in a drunken stupor.

  • Church means many different things to many different people. Unfortunately, anything organized, denominational religion included, is not exempt from human flaw. I have belonged to one form of conservative protestant faith since I was a child. Fortunately, my experience has been one which was simple. Personally, learn to live by some biblical standards that are solid guidance, when relating to others, practice love and acceptance through Gods grace, be forgiving, have conviction however, realize that others have to find it for themselves and realize others are different. If you want to have an impact on people lives as you serve them in the name of Christ, then live it and let others find it. Here is a great concept. In scripture Old and New, people found in the toughest of their times. Their change happened because, regardless of their success or failure, they sought God out like a friend, spent time in prayer and continued to listen. Perhaps, not listening with the ear. Just knowing when the seasons for them were right for change. Like yourself, I have dis-taste for a holy zionist mentality being exerted on me personally or others by someone else. There is a mission which comes from the mouths of such people; however, they tend to forget that God has his plan and does his work. Christ mission was to make it simple. Care and serve. To be effective, this does not always need the presence of judgement nor someone with an agenda. Keep being creative.

    • This is lovely! — thank you so much for this! “Care and serve,” perfect. It’s very important to live it, as you say, and if it is to be, lead by example, letting people develop their own relationship, instead of trying to impose something on them. It’s like forcing someone to have a relationship, or to marry someone who isn’t compatible. Thanks for stopping by Andy.

  • I have always gone to church and never believed, really believed, but I do believe in the idea of religion; the ethics, morals, stories. It provides morality, and a sense of spirituality in a modern world, like you discuss. There are many things wrong with religion; mainly stemming from people taking the bible, a two thousand year-old book, far to literally in the modern age. If you adapt the ideals for modern society however, and allow yourself to feel the atmosphere of a church, feel the calmness, and just try to be a basically good person; then even a non-believer, like myself, can appreciate religion, and the good it can do.

    • What you describe sounds like a great atmosphere where people could experience spirituality in a meditative environment, which I think is ideal, as opposed to stale scripture and religious ritual. Thanks Helen!

    • If you like history though, I would encourage you to find a study book that helps to outline exactly what historically is going on with the people of the old and new testament. Even though it is 2000 to 8000 years old translated text, it provides a sense of what was going on in that part of the world at that time. It also is relational from the people perspective. This content tends to get overshadowed simply because many churches do not take the time to teach the history/theology content from these angles. Some do, some don’t.

  • I am lost, but I don’t aim to be a lost hypocrite. You want to be saved for only God knows what, you hope to survive catastrophe when others do not, and you are not ‘really ‘ a religious guy. I don’t understand.

  • We are all connected spiritually and we don’t gather or meet coincidentally. God can dress in anybody’s body, so can be anybody. Remember at the tomb Mary saw him and spoke to him thinking he was a Gardner? which means He must have been dressed in some way that suggested a Gardner, and certainly his face must have been of a stranger. So when we gather or meet we are all spiritually important to each other and we all hold answers, solutions, and missing links for one another. Why?, because God is in each of us and ORGANISED RELIGION stops Him from performing. Once Christians gather or meet they all uplift the name of their Pastors and not of God. Therefore God is blocked from all sides and the Pastors/Preachers do as they please on the pulpit and without God. As a result they end up preaching more about money. Most churches no longer even allow testimonies. Testimonies allow Jesus Christ to be uplifted and to speak loud through people giving answers, solutions and missing links, so that people will repent and draw closer to Him. Most Christians are now just as lost as the World. My book “A Waterfall Of Agape Love” talks about People and the importance of each one we meet and why, and how most of these meetings have been abused. Organised Religion kills. It blocks all the channels to God and leaves people brainwashed and dead spiritually. In the end people start to believe more in the lost man on the pulpit than in Jesus Christ. And guess what? the man on the pulpit happily takes the glory. So my advice: we are all connected spiritually. Always be alert and prayerful as you go in and out because people are not just people. They are Christ’s Ambassadors, including yourself. It’s only that many don’t perform or listen to their Spirit because of religion. Many are worshipping their leaders unaware.

  • Is all the Bible God’s word,or is only part of the Bible God’s word? When it comes to discussion about religion and all the questions that go with it, no one answer is right so I say ,One either believes in God or doesn’t …there is no way to prove that There is a God . One can only go on Faith.

  • The most confusing thins about the Bible is when evidence are found here and there. Then you have to scratch your head and ask yourself where to draw the line. Can it be that the historical story true and the miracles exaggeration? Personally, I’m still looking for an answer.

    • You know I really have a lot of nerve writing about what I think of the Bible, as if I’d read it comprehensively, because I haven’t. So I’m really glad that you and others have brought up some points about it — things I should look into — especially if I’m going to be invoking it.

  • It sounds like you are a spiritual person and you are practicing mindfulness and living day to day. That’s what Jesus wanted for us. We recognize where we have gone wrong every day but celebrate all the things we have done right. Jesus was not about punishment at all. He came to give us hope, love, joy and freedom from the oppression of religion. I’m not religious but the bible is an amazing source of wisdom and inspiration. But we have to out it into context with the timeline in which it was written and keep in mind that the Old Testament and the New should be viewed together.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, keeping the bible in context is very important. Not to be taken as gospel — especially since there were people writing stuff in there to manipulate people. I love the stories though. It was required reading in my college literature class.

  • Hey Sandee! I’m not sure how I missed this. Not just because you’ve been FP’d (totally deserved and huge congrats!), but this is the most insightful, raw, real piece I’ve ever read of yours. Totally blew me away with goosebumps up and down.

    Amazing perspective, awesome work.

    Love you (and the short hair in your avatar pic: beautiful).

  • Oh Stacie — I wish I could hug you in person! (hahaha! — when I typed that sentence first time it said “hug you in prison” — uh oh! :)) — I’m so glad you stopped by — doesn’t matter what time! I really appreciate your comment and glad I get to enjoy my blogging journey with you!

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