The one thing about journeys is that they take you from one place to another. I have found myself often using the imagery of a map to describe this. Turns out I’ve been using this for a long time. What can I say? I have always loved maps and often think in terms of a journey across a map.
My recent spiritual journey has some of that characteristic, too. Raised in a Christian church that was always mildly evangelical and mildly charismatic and definitely middle-class white suburbia kind of made my map smaller than it should have been. I still cringe when I think about some of the attitudes and opinions I used to hold.
But I’ve walked off that map. I have made friends outside the church, I’ve had deep conversations about current issues, I’ve even had a deeply personal experience. I made my map bigger. I learnt to accept that life happens outside of church attendees and with people of all sorts of different religious and a-religious tastes. I’ve learnt that the black-and-white world of most Christian teaching is really grey-and-gray.
But I’ve walked off that map, too. I’ve questioned why the church does things. I’ve found research about bible history, about church history. I’ve found that Christianity as taught to me doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. I posted a few months back about “coming out from under the Christian guilt“. This wasn’t something I did lightly. And it wasn’t done in isolation. My map had been “folded out” to some seriously non-Christian spirituality.
I came out as “almost” Wiccan this morning to the first person whose reaction I didn’t know beforehand. And it went well. He was my counsellor and would be used to dealing with people of all sorts of faiths. But he is also a Christian and is skilled at encouraging people to learn and know themselves.
My map is taking me in direction he might not have seen before. It’s also a direction I haven’t seen before, either.