I had a very nice coffee meeting with a friend this past week. It was a beautiful sunny day in Portland. The kind of day that really brings people out of the wood work around here. As we sat sipping our coffee and chatting about various things the subject of organized religion came up.
My friend was telling me about his exposure to different religions growing up. There was a mix of Catholicism, Christianity and Buddhism. I shared a little of my history as well, along with my belief regarding a being greater than ourselves.
It’s pretty simple in my mind, kinda like peanut butter. Peanut butter is peanut butter, no matter what label is on it. Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan, it’s all ground up peanuts. Right?
Now, I understand this may be too simple of an opinion for some folks because they believe their peanut butter is the one true peanut butter and don’t get me wrong I’m not about to go to the mattresses over whether or not one person’s peanut butter is right or wrong. I’d rather be happy than right in someone else’s mind, because really it simply doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about my beliefs. Ya know?
My friend was explaining how he hasn’t always been an avid church goer, as an adult. Me neither. Oh, I’ve been to church plenty in my life. I’ve done, more than, my fair share of searching for “the church” that felt like a fit for me. I’m not currently attending any church, so that pretty much sums up how the search for “my church” has gone, but that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, my friend was telling me about a church he’s been attending recently and asked my opinion. If you’ve read very many of these blogs, you may have noticed, I’m open to sharing my opinion and I feel confident in my beliefs. As I was listening to him share his experience it became clear he had learned of some beliefs of this church that didn’t align with his personal beliefs. I believe he was asking me about this because he felt conflicted.
On one hand he really liked the community feel, the member participation within the church and overall he had a good feeling when he went, but on occasion felt discord with certain aspects of the message. I said, “Look! You are the only you there is and unless you create you very own church there are going to be aspects of every church that don’t line up exactly with your beliefs. The bottom line here is do you feel good when you go? If you mostly like it and the discord you feel is minor and doesn’t REALLY affect you then I say go and take the good and leave the rest.”
Life really is all about our focus and what we choose to hold on to. If it bothers you let it go. If it serves your greater good, hold on to it and milk it for all the good feelings you can.