I told Mary that I was thinking of breaking my “Day in the death” post into a fourth part, as I kept discovering more and more to address on the subject. In the end, I decided to do a separate post on Past Lives, since that was a lot of the material that would have been added (and now enough for 3 posts on past lives alone, LOL!), and then just show how my thoughts/beliefs on this relate to my experiences in this life, and why what YOU believe about this will tell you a lot about how you see the world. And how you will experience it (happy/sad/fearful/joyous, etc.).
Now for most of my life there was not even a real thought about past lives, they just didn’t exist. Raised a Christian, generic variety, baptized Presbyterian (no idea what that means, but than it sounds REALLY cool!), but went to church in my youth to a Methodist church (no idea what that means, but it seemed to be where RICH Christians went). Everyone wore a suit and didn’t smile much, but I LOVED the voice of the minister, Mark Trotter. I mean when I hear God talk, to this very day, he speaks in Mark’s wonderful, wise, and mellow voice. Late in my high school days, I decided to be “born again” after attending an awesome Christian rock band concert, and that happened with the Baptists (no idea what that means, but there were LOTS of people my age there, and they seemed to use the words “the lord” in about every sentence). When I went away to college and went to hangout with a friend’s Christian group, they were called the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC). (I have no idea what that means, but if you didn’t think exactly like them, you were going to hell–“and just like that, my CCC days was over”…). When I was 21, I took a year off from college and went to work at Park City Ski Area in Utah. I met a lot of Mormons there (at first I had no idea what that meant, but then I learned that it meant you originally could have multiple wives but that was now illegal, but that you couldn’t wear shorts to school even when it was 100 degrees, but then that changed when 3 GUYS–one of whom I worked with–started wearing dresses as a protest, and that you gave 10% to the church, even if it was winnings from gambling on the Super Bowl, and, lastly, that Mormons are, without a doubt, the NICEST group of human beings I have ever met). But I wouldn’t want to be one.
After that, and learning how organized religion was used throughout history to de-empasize thinking and to keep political and economic control over large groups of people, I pretty much stayed away from any organized religion for the next 15 years or so, focusing more on the religion of nature and the saving of planet earth.
I’m not sure how she came in contact with it–I guess I’ll ask her–but my mom found a church somewhere along the line that she invited me to attend while I was back in San Diego. After I confirmed that 1) I was OK with the fact that they didn’t have a name as cool as the Presbyterians, 2) you didn’t have to wear a suit and a frown to go there, 3) you didn’t have to say “the lord” in every sentence, 4) you weren’t going to hell if you didn’t believe exactly as they did, 5) you could wear shorts if you wanted, and 6) that they didn’t seem to have used the threat of hell to control large groups of people….I said “okay”! As far as organized religions go, this turned out to be the one that fit me perfectly! In fact, not only was it the FIRST one ever to have a “sermon” about what it actually MEANS to be a part of the Disciples of Christ church, but in that very sermon cum history lesson, it was very happily and clearly pointed out that in this church, “you don’t have to leave your brain at the door”! In addition, very much in line with what I have always believed about Jesus, this church is a place where “all are welcome at this table”. Gay or lesbian? Come on in! Uncertain in your faith? Come on in! From another religion (Muslim, Hindu, Rastafarian, etc.)? Come on in! (Although you Rasta’s have to wait til you leave the building to smoke your ganja–California law). Atheist or agnostic? Come on in! It also doesn’t suck that there’s great music and after church there’s a farmer’s market across the street where you can get fresh, organic fruits and veggies and the BEST oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies on the planet (which also come in real handy after smoking a big Rasta spliff…er, so I’ve heard…). But seriously, it’s truly the type of church I would create if I was of a mind to do so. I have even gone about trying to find a Disciples of Christ church near home in New Hampshire (no luck), and looked into what it takes to start a congregation if I settle somewhere where there is not one already. (Part 2 tomorrow…..)