I have thought a lot today about the Church of God that I grew up in and the way it influenced me and my generation, most of whom either responded the way I did or worse. I have realized that the religion was forced upon us, rather than taught to us. It was given to us like medicine-take it or die. It was so black and white. There was no room for personal growth, individual understanding, or a gentle tolerance and patience with each other. Even worse, the voice of the Holy Spirit was stifled and squelched into non-existence because we were expected to obey the authorities without question. Their word WAS bible, and how dare anyone question it. There was no room for compromise or negotiation. This caused us to be helpless and weak, unable to make sound decisions on our own, or it turned us into cynical, rebellious, bitter souls, unable to find peace within ourselves, God or mankind. This is a sad, heartbreaking result of a religion that seemed to be holy, yet was so wrong. When the authorities disagree with each other, it causes the people to become dissatisfied in relying solely on what their authority tells them what to do. How can they be so right if they disagree with those of their own level and position of power? When people leave the Church, they either go all the way to the extreme-anything goes. Or they learn to think critically for themselves and search for Truth on their own, discovering a true, intimate and powerful relationship with God. Or they may go to the extreme of relativism, and then come back to the middle, seeking what is right, honest, and good. I went to the extreme, I will admit. Now I've come back to the middle because I do want to know God for myself, and not in the light that He was portrayed to me in-a harsh, unforgiving, overbearing God that expects me to be perfect... something I'm definitely not. No, I'm discovering that He is a forgiving, passionate, kind, gentle God that wants what is best for me, wants to provide for my needs, support me, guide me, and lead me all the way home to Him.
Speaking of home, I really would like to stay here and not move across country to CA. I don't know if that's a possibility but I can dream and pray and hope. I have a lovely home on the hill, close to my parents and siblings, a steady job and a great piano job.... We will see what transpires over the next few days as my family life sorts itself out.