Friday, May 04, 2007


My mom's a PK, Preacher's Kid, and I don't mean minister, I mean PREACHER. Baptist. Say no more. Although not raised Baptist, my brother and I were raised Protestant Christians, as opposed to Catholic Christians, which everyone knows aren't "real" Christians, because they worship false idols and are hung up on Mary.

My brother was the first to jump ship. He first went deep into Native American traditions. Eventually he found Buddhism and a community of Tibetan Buddhists in the unlikely town of Cottage Grove, Oregon (population 10 - or close enough). There he befriended a Buddhist monk that had immigrated from a refugee camp in India. This monk knew a girl that Michael, my brother, might like. 1 1/2 years of e-mails and phone calls later, my brother married this wonderful woman, Sonam.

Even my dyed-in-the-wool Christian mother couldn't help but be moved by the authenticity of this Tibetan Buddhist daughter-in-law. Such profound love, wisdom, compassion, peace and forgiveness we'd never seen before.

Meanwhile, I was involved in a women's book group. We read Anne Frank. While discussing it, one woman, perhaps my greatest teacher ever, said it was a shame Anne Frank and the other Jews that perished in the Holocaust are all now burning in hell. Had they only given their lives to Jesus, they could live in His perfect peace in heaven. That's it. I snapped. I had read Anne Frank at least twice prior. I'd dragged my husband to Amsterdam when visiting Europe, for the sole purpose of seeing her hiding place. I had read countless other books on the Holocaust. There was NO way anyone was going to get me to agree that these people were now burning in hell! Excuse me? Check, check! The Holocaust WAS burning in hell. Literally! WTF?

From that night forward I couldn't "be with" my life-long religion. It was great, but it was not enough. Too much of it never added up for me. I thought it was me, a rebel, until I realized eventually that there were many others with the same snags circling the globe, and had been, for thousands of years. What a relief.

I don't know what to call myself now, so I say I'm "everything" which is quite different from being "nothing." Someone else called this thinking Universalism. Another called it poly-religious. I don't really care to be labeled or put in a box. I'm fine with the fact that all good is good. There is one truth, but many paths. Different strokes for different folks, and all that stuff.

I do know that those with whom we most disagree, have the most to teach us.


Anonymous said...

love that....sent it to my biblestudy group

Jess said...

Great post! Great story, so interesting about your brother. Yeah, I had to go Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, too...

Not that you asked, but for a slightly more adult perspective on living in Europe during the Holocaust, you should read Etty Hillesum's "An Interrupted Life (Diaries)" and "Letters from Westerbork". She's sort-of the adult counterpart to Anne Frank.


Sue said...

Everything is connected.

Suzy said...

Love that you're "everything". I agree.

There are so many different ideals we can pull from each "religion" that can give us a unique spiritual experience if we allow ourselves NOT to be contained in that "box". Many peoples, many ways to God.

In the Catholic church when i was growing up, if babies died, they would go to "Limbo" if they weren't baptized. Now, the Catholic church dissolved "Limbo".
So where are those babies now? WTF????
Yeh, Catholicism is interesting, for lack of a better word.
Amazing post Carrie.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Awesome post Carrie.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love this post. You put into words exactly the "search" I have been dealing with for the past several years. I think your conclusion is just perfect, and makes so much sense, and fits exactly how I really feel too. I don't know why I am trying so hard to find that one label, when there are so many pieces that blend together and make a better picture...for me. Beautiful Post Carrie.

Jerri said...

How can people who preach that "God is Love" believe that anyone who doesn't see God through their eyes will go to hell?

Your post is a fabulous description of a seeker.

Keep seeking, Carrie. And keep telling us what you find.

Ziji Wangmo said...

Great post - you got me thinking.

Terry Whitaker said...

There is perceived safety in labels, nothing more. Yet it's so difficult to let them go.

Deb said...

I can't thank you enough for this post, Carrie. You've put into words my own nebulous concerns and questions in a way I haven't yet been able to articulate. This writing is a huge gift. Love!

Anonymous said...

If you look to nature you'll see that where there is variety things thrive. Where there is a monoculture nothing thrives.

Sue said...

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."

- André Paul Guillaume Gide
(November 22, 1869 – February 19, 1951)

Kim said...

Ditto everyone--what a great post! I love that you are "everything" which is SO different from "nothing."

I feel like I am headed down a similar path, so this is a great inspiration!

kario said...

Ain't it the truth? Unfortunately, we can only learn from them if we're willing to be open to it. Thanks for doing your part to help the rest of us open up, Ms. Link!