Connecting with the Divine

May 19, 2013
Morocco 2012

Opening the door to the divine is a lot different than religion, it turns out. And it’s something I never gave much thought to when I was younger.

I never connected with Catholicism in more than a cultural way, maybe because I didn’t go to Catholic school. And never really considered God except as someone to direct intercessory prayer to if I really, really thought I wanted something.

But as I passed into my 50s, I started thinking more about spirituality and what it really meant.

So–and talk about burying the lead–it was with some surprise the other day when I realized that I wasn’t a Christian.

I know. This will come as a big upset to some of my friends, especially those who have fundamental beliefs.

I’m not a Jew, either. Or a Buddhist. Or any other organized religion.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a good ritual, like Catholic Mass, as much as the next person. And sometimes, in a beautiful Catholic Church, such as Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, I do feel closer to the divine.

But I don’t believe Jesus was God.

I believe he was Christ, which means “anointed one,” in the sense that he was a teacher. He had good stuff to say, too. Divinely inspired. But I’m not sure I really understand how he could be God.

So, from that standpoint, no, I’m not a Christian.

The more I read about the origin of some of the most popular Biblical or Christian stories, the more I realize how much Christianity it based on blind belief of stories with shaky foundations.  For example:

Noah’s story is an adaptation of a Mesopotamian work that predates it by at least 1,500 years.
In…Genesis…Yahweh sends the flood as punishment for humanity’s sins.
In the Mesopotamian story…the people were destroyed because they overpopulated
and their noise disturbed the gods. The original Flood myth was not about morality;
it is an archaic argument for ecological balance. ~Julia Assante, PhD

Did you know this?  I didn’t. Not that the whole ark thing could be rooted in reality, though. Two by two? All in the same boat?  Naah. But it and its relationship to “sin” is fundamental to religion. I just don’t believe it.

What I do believe developed over decades of life, reading, exploring, prayer and meditation.

Here’s what I believe: there’s a Master Plan and a Source. We have a Home from where we came and to where we return. It’s like Heaven, only no clouds or harp-playing angels. Nor is it like our earth. But it’s a fabulous place, nonetheless.

It’s my belief that our souls incarnate more than once and that we’re here to learn various lessons. Or to help someone else learn lessons. This is an agreement we make going into it–we know in advance and choose our lives, even. But of course, that memory is wiped clean so we can actually live it out.

When my ex-husband, B, first saw me walk into the office in 1990, his first thought was, What is she doing here? Because he believed he’d known me in another life. I didn’t quite understand that then, but I do, now. In this life, he was one of my teachers. We have a strong connection, but not as mates. B is a member of my soul family and we have incarnated together before. We have been family. Just not spouses.

Henry Miller Library, Big Sur

Henry Miller Library, Big Sur

I believe the beauty of nature is meant to give us a taste of the divine here on earth. Beautiful old redwoods that have stood for many lifetimes, like the ones at Big Sur. Grounded, stolid, stalwart through the centuries, their roots seem to reach out and hold the earth in a protective embrace. Maybe they hold us, as well, and the wisdom of the ages.

Rose_g_CU_ivory_pink_rose goodThe delicate, paper-thin petals of a rose seem miraculous. Just lovely.

All are creations in our world and they’re nothing compared to what I believe Home is like.


I believe that we can communicate with those who have gone Home, and we can do that ourselves if we want or through a medium.

It’s also so clear that religion and faith are vastly different. Religion has its strictures, its politics and all the man-centric things that make it so troublesome. The Catholic Church is hugely corrupt, I believe, and so are televangelists that shill for money and live high and mighty while their congregants scrimp to fill donation envelopes.

But faith? Another thing entirely. I must admit that it eluded me for many decades.And then, one day, without even trying, I understood what faith was and what I believed.

Some of it had to do with experiences I began having once I opened the door to the divine. Amazing experiences.

And reading everything in the library about the existence of God and about life after life.

Asking questions of everyone I knew: Do you believe in God? What do you believe happens after death?

The most important thing, though, is that I made up my own mind about it and didn’t just accept what was handed me at birth. I never thought that I was born with sin and had to be forgiven, even before I drew breath. I certainly never believed that I had to say some magic words to go Home.

Then again, if you know me, you also know that I was born questioning authority.

It’s not all that important to me that you believe as I believe. We’ll all find out soon enough because we all die in time.

But it IS important that I now know, myself, what I believe, after an entire lifetime of puzzling over it. It’s a good feeling.

And, just like in this moving song, it feels so real, and so good that sometimes I really do feel almost as if I’m flying with my feet on the ground. Click the link below for music:

Burlap to Cashmere/Closer to the Edge

9 comments on “Connecting with the Divine
  1. As someone who has experienced similar wonderings, this post resonates with me. Did you know that the Christ story — a virgin birth and a sacrificial death — was also told in other prior cultures? You might enjoy the book The Gospel of the Second Coming by Tim Freke. He talks about the difference between the literalists (the law) and the gnostics (the spirit of the law) in each of the 3 monotheistic religions, and how, historically, the former has been so threatened by the latter and would stop at nothing to eliminate it. We can see evidence of this even today.

    Anyway, thanks for the Sunday morning Big Thoughts 🙂

  2. Barbara says:

    I do believe in God, and I’m a late convert to Catholicism, despite knowing all of its rough history. I was raised Baptist, but beginning in my late teens I went through a period best described as agnosticism, very similar to what you’ve described. But the moment I looked into my firstborn’s eyes, something clicked, and at that moment, I believed again. It took more than a decade of study and prayer before I actually converted, though. I believe I’m on the path God planned for me, but I don’t judge others if their paths don’t resemble mine. I have Jewish friends, Buddhist friends, atheist friends…
    It was in a philosophy class years ago where we learned “proof” that God doesn’t exist, that I truly understood the meaning of faith.

  3. Carol – I share the same feelings you do on spirituality vs. organized religion. I don’t need Easter, Lent, Mass or Confession to feel at one with God … and grateful.

  4. Laura Kennedy says:

    Love this. Especially what you have to say about sin! Did you know that the origin of the Greek word was “to miss the mark”? Very different idea!

  5. admin says:

    I didn’t know that, Laura!

  6. Jo Heroux says:

    I am in a very similar boat paddling the spiritual world beside you. I do believe Christ was the son of God, if not literally, in the sense that He lived here on earth and spread the love message of God the Father of us all. I am with God always and He with me, as I believe we are one. I am never without His protection.

    I also don’t believe in the magic words of redemption. Simply living a life of love, having faith in Him and in the paths I choose, seem to me to get the job done. I thank Him for my blessings and pray for my own wisdom and strength and believe I get both for the asking.

    This is a brave and beautiful post.

  7. Susan Dusterhoft says:

    I understand how you feel about religion. I was born and raised Catholic. As I got older and able to reason, I began to question everything about the Church. When the abuse came to light, I had a walk away and figure out what I needed. After years, I’ve finally figured it out that I just want to read and study the bible so I joined a study group and am slowly reading a book that was only shared to me in bits and pieces when I was younger.

    I’m glad you found what to believe in again.

    • admin says:

      The Bible isn’t part of of Catholic teaching in any organized way, so it’s up to us to take our own look at it, I know! I read once that it developed to keep Protestants in line, because they didn’t have the Pope, like Catholics did. Don’t know if that’s true or not. Church institutions are all about power and control–to me, what’s more helpful is finding the tenets that speak to your heart. Sounds like you are doing that.

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