I was raised Methodist and Lutheran and in High School decided I liked Catholic Church (and took communion in their church much to their chagrin). Then I moved to LA and decided I was “spiritual”, but not religious. (How many times have you heard that one? Or how many times have you said that one?) I discovered Yoga, Hinduism Sufism and Buddhism. Now where does that leave me? I don’t belong to any particular branch of faith, but I do have a lot of Faith.
Last night I sat reading one of the last chapters of Huston Smith’s book The World’s Religions. It was the chapter on Christianity. Even though I was raised in the Christian faith, I really had no idea what it was that I was supposed to be or believe. How many of us have studied our own faith in comparative religions in a historic format with no one trying to convince us of one set path? The World’s Religions and An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor reminded me that Faith comes from within, it is nothing that can be put in to words and is only represented by our actions. I can talk all day long about belief, faith and values, but if I act otherwise no one would ever listen. Now I see Faith must be like this… you must know about much of the world and their faith, you must stand by and live your values and simply be present with your own heart and trust that the path will come before you when you are ready. No need to share your words with others, no need to convince anyone of anything. If you are seeking to understand your own Faith, I highly recommend both of these books and find out what Faith means to you, personally.
No matter what my Faith or yours, I think we can all agree with this piece of Hinduism from Huston Smith:
That Hinduism has shared her land for centuries with Jains, Buddhists, Parsees, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians may help explain a final idea that comes out more clearly through her than through the other great religions; namely her conviction that the various major religions are alternate paths to the same goal…Normally, people will follow the path that rises from the plains of their own civilization; those who circle the mountain, trying to bring others around to their paths, are not climbing… It is possible to climb life’s mountain from any side, but when the top is reached the trails converge.