God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
I think the biggest issue was with the Roman Catholic version which said; “I believe in one, holy Roman Catholic and apostolic Church”. I always seemed to gag on that line. Mind you, I embraced my life in the Catholic Church. I was in the children’s choir, an altar boy, sang in the adult choir and even sang solo. I was even a Youth Minister for the Diocese of Providence working at a center in Middletown, RI. I was even one step away from being a priest. Yet, most of this was due to the urging of others who saw I was a deeply spiritual person and being Catholic, put 2 and 2 together and got 5.
I spent a lot of time in the woods and would often talk to God. I didn’t like the idea of prayer. The Church kept trying to teach us that God was our Father, but that we needed to have a priest intercede for us and communicate to God. If we were all his children, why then couldn’t I just talk to him. I must admit that my belief in a Supreme Being was fortified by some things that happened in my life, but on the other hand, was it really the hand of God? Though, admittedly, there was one attempt at suicide that ended inexplicably. I was saved from killing myself by being tugged back just as I was stepping into oncoming traffic. There was no one there. That, and a few other things, helped to string me along in wanting to believe in a divine benefactor, yet, it is all the negative in my life that has finally driven me to believe that there probably isn’t a God.
I have been one who has dedicated my life to helping others. I have sometimes gone without so I could help another. I expected nothing in return. I just did it because that is who I am. Yet. one has to wonder, how a loving Father, a beneficial God, could subject a person to all I have gone through and still am. Of course, there are those who will say, well God gave us free will. Yes, but he also made me and many others transgender. He has subjected me to a lifetime of struggle, mentally, physically, and financially. Yet, through all of this, I still reach out to people. I had one nun turn to me after hearing some of my story and told me she thought I had the spirit of Job. I was constantly being tested to see the strength of my faith.
Faith, hmmm, that is something that is perpetually being tested, yet, those who look at me see a deeply spiritual person. During training for Youth Ministry at Mater Spei Day Camp in RI, I was sitting on my bunk crying. One of the other guys came up and asked what was up. I shared with him how I was struggling with all of this and how they seemed so pious and spiritual and seemed to “get it”. He broke down and cried with me and told me that they were looking to me as they saw me as a spiritual leader. That God has a warped sense of humour.
I ended up assigned to a Youth Center in Middletown, RI. In a weird twist, the sacristy of the chapel was turned into my bedroom. The closet the priests used to store their garments became my closets. One door, opened on the altar. I was off and isolated from the other Youth Ministers. Often I would find myself pacing the warped and cracking floors ranting to God as to why he had led me there and why I was there at all. Of course, no answer. Yet, I would find that my presence would late impact a few young lives. I later learned that one conversation I had stopped a young lady from taking her life. I would find this out later at a retreat. She was a team leader and scheduled to give a talk on friendship. I was in the back going over the menu for lunch and getting ready to go down and prepare it. I had half an ear listening to her. She talked about how people come into your life and bring significant changes. She went on to talk about how we sometimes take people for granted until that one day when they change your life. She then went on to talk about how she had planned to take her life and had come by the center to say goodbye to one of the other Youth Ministers. They weren’t there so they were invited to stay and have some tea and chat for a bit. She said how she soon opened up to this other person and they helped them to see life from a different perspective and made her change her mind about taking her life. She then turned to the back of the room and said that she wanted to thank me for being a friend and being there for her. The whole room stood and clapped To this day, the memory brings a tear. This and other events like it has been what has helped me to believe that there is a divine force guiding us. But was it really a divine force, or just that I was empathetic and intuitive and just happened to be there.
We always hear the excuses for bad things happening to people. It is God’s will. God gave us free will. Yet, in the end, is it really God, or is it our own sense of right and wrong. I have always believed in doing the right thing. I try to be a good person, not based on a religious standard, but rather based on a human one. I believe the Wiccan koan, An it harm none do what ye will. I guess that is why I struggled with the Catholic religion as it claiming to be the one true religion. I found a great many teachers on many paths. Wisdom is wisdom.
When I first went into counseling, one of the first things my psychologist decided needed to be done, was to find out who I was and what I believed. I don’t know how many responses I made to her where I started with, well people say, or this person says, and she would stop me. She would tell me that she didn’t want to know what they believed, she wanted to know what I believed. That became an interesting point as I started to learn other paths. I learned about the Druids, hey I’m Irish. From there I learned about shaman and then Native American wisdom. I continued to learn and connect with these paths and teachings. I got the ideology behind the Lakota’s term, Mitakuye Oyasin, we are all related. I would also start learning about Quantum Physics and see the interconnection of all things on a scientific level.
Through all of this, I still wanted to believe in that one, all powerful deity who watched out for us. Yet, given the current state of things, I find it extremely difficult to believe in a beneficial deity who watches out for us. I have not abandoned my belief in the connectivity of all things. Yet, given what has happened to me throughout my life and especially what has happened recently, I cannot believe that a beneficent God would allow it. So I think I have to walk away from that belief.
I won’t go to the extreme to say that I am now embracing the mantle of atheism. I do believe that there is a central energy. I kind of like the idea of the connectivity of the Force. I believe that we can draw on the energy that surrounds us to bring healing to others. So I am not walking away entirely, just releasing the idea that there is one omnipotent, omnipresent being watching over us. I believe in the science that says we are all connected. I do believe that we are all connected and if we could all somehow get beyond our greed, ignorance, and hatred, we could make this a beautiful world for generations to come. That is what I will put out to the Universe.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.