June 23, 2005

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Primetime Live on ABC and Diane Sawyer was interviewing Brad Pitt. Though there were certainly some questions about his relationships over the past year, there was something he did that was very refreshing. He said that the only way he’d give an interview would be if the majority of the time was spent talking about an issue that was very dear to him: poverty. During the course of the interview and segments from his trip to Ethiopia, I was constantly reminded of the poverty that I saw in the flesh during my world travels. I was also reminded of something I saw in passing one evening while my mom was watching one of the entertainment news shows on TV: ONE.

The ONE Campaign is working to raise awareness of Americans and those all over the world about the possibility that there is to make a real difference in the fight to end poverty through a series of agreements to forgive third-world debt, reform trade, and increase the level of foreign aid by an additional 1% of the US budget.

All of a sudden, I felt a great deal of compassion and energy to support such an important problem facing our world. And a sense of passion, even a little, is something that my life has lacked over the past year. And it feels good to have some of that back.

On a totally separate note, I have come to a decision in my life, one I have not made lightly. For the past 6 years – maybe even twice that, on some level – I have been struggling with who I am as a spiritual and religious person. I have been a part of the United Methodist Church for my entire life, in part, because I was born into the family of a UM pastor. I’m not implying that that was a bad thing, or that I didn’t find a sense of direction and belonging there – because I did – but as I’ve matured as a person and have gained a clearer picture of who I am and what I believe I’ve come to see more and more that the UMC is no longer the place for me. So, as of the end of July, I’m done.

I’ve spent a great deal of time studying the religions of the world and praying about how I see God and have come to realize that my most basic idea of God is so much wider than the box that Christianity creates. I’ve spent years justifying my beliefs and twisting definitions so that I could feel like I still fit. But that has done nothing but leave me feeling exhausted and like I haven’t been true to myself. It hasn’t been healthy. And I don’t want to do that anymore. I need to be me and not the person I have – for lack of a better word – pretended to be for the past quarter, or more, of my life.

I’m not sure where I’m going to go next, maybe UU, maybe not. I just have to look within and without to find where God is leading me and what community is best for me and where I can be as faithful to myself as possible.

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