Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Losing Faith.

I hesitate to write this post. I seriously hesitate to write this post, but here it goes.

I'm losing faith.

For those of you that don't know, I grew up in an extremely religious family: both my parents are Episcopal priests. I was keenly aware of the human side of religion from a very young age, simply because I think it is impossible to see your religious leader as infallible if that person is your parent.

But now, things are really different.

I've always been highly superstitious, very careful, very interested in other religions, and other ways to engage on a spiritual level. I've tried to explain to people why and how this works, but the best that I've ever come up with is "I believe in everything because I have faith in nothing."

Even saying that phrase over and over again has not prepared me for the point I've reached in my life. I got a message from a friend yesterday that said, in response to my offer of help, "Prayer would help." And my immediate reaction, in my head, was "Really? C'mon, what will prayer do for you?" I'm a bit shocked and appalled that my thinking has evolved to that point, but it's true. What I wanted him to say was "Uh, actually, could you pick up my dry-cleaning?" Or maybe "Thanks, I could really use a friendly ear tonight to work through some things."

I know alot of research has been done on the power of positive thinking, and how prayer activities can actually better your health and your ability to be effective, I just don't have those experiences.

I blame the church, and my parent's involvement in the church, for a variety of 'ills' that have come our way, and frankly, it's affected my willingness to believe. But I feel guilty. I feel as if I'm not giving "faith" and "prayer" a chance to show me it's not just for self-interested, exclusionists.

So then, how do I have faith? Or does one just have it naturally? I don't know the answer. I'll be trying to pray for my friend, because I know that's what he wants, but I'd rather pick up his dry-cleaning.

1 comment:

craige said...

I often feel compelled to tell someone that I'll pray for them if they're in a bad spot. I don't really mean that I will kneel down by the side of my bed, clasp my hands, and address my thoughts to God. I just mean I will keep them in my thoughts and wish them well. But that's not what people want. They want to be told you'll pray for them. And that's not what I'm going to do, in the sense they're thinking. So, I don't say anything. Because saying you'll keep someone in your thoughts doesn't seem to carry the same weight.