I’m actually at a loss as to how I want to answer this/these questions. I could give you my beliefs/views or I could talk about the subjects in general. I guess I’ll just do a combo of the two.

My thoughts on religion have drastically changed over the last year or so. After being part of protestant churches since I was born, I started getting frustrated with the way churches handled… well, everything– money, beliefs, politics, relationships, outreach, doubts, etc. I have never fit into molds very well, which has caused a lot of friction with church leaders. I’ve never been one to sit back and let things slide when they don’t make sense. “Why are we doing it that way? Where’s the money going? What’s the money being used for? What’s the purpose of this particular talk?” Big surprise that I’ve never been the teacher’s pet…

I was attracted to the more “edgy,” atypical, “emergent” churches because they seemed to be more open to talking about flaws in the system, brokenness of humanity, and accepting outsiders. However, there continued to be problems. When I would think I completely jived with the overall message and mission of the church, the leaders up and changed directions.

I finally had it with churches. I went from one church to another that started out awesome, so full of hope and vision– and turned into a pile of self-serving crap. So that probably explains as to why I haven’t been to church in almost 2 years. Those particular churches (I’m actually not sure if one is still in existence) work for some people and the churches caters to them very differently than they ever did to me (although, I do have to say, I met some of my best friends through my last church, so at least there’s that).

Over the last year and a half, I have become more open and accepting of other ideas, not letting “fear” deter my thoughts and discoveries. I’ve found numerous blogs that spoke messages that made so much more sense to me as to the way of the world. And even more than that, helped me feel not as isolated in my feelings of the downfalls of (pretty much every) church. The flaws in thinking, the greediness, the hypocrisy, the exclusivity, and the closed-mindedness of many churches and their attendees.

Religion no longer makes any sense to me. God no longer makes sense to me. Religion seems more about power and influence than an actual way of life and thinking. I know very good, gracious, loving people who are religious, and I’m not talking about people as individuals, but religions as a whole. I’m still in exploration of what I really think/believe, but I know that the religion that I grew up with no longer fits with me. I’ve fought like hell to be able to fit into the perfect  mold of a “perfect Christian.” And I’m done fighting, because I know that I will never win that fight. I will never fit that mold.

And to fit that into my thoughts on politics, I’ve always hated that Christianity is automatically assumed to be associated with the Republican party. And if you don’t vote Republican, you aren’t a true Christian. I know that there are Christians who vote Democrat, but it’s usually not announced publicly, and definitely not encouraged within the church. I know someone who was part of a very conservative Christian group and someone “found out” that she was going to vote for Obama. Some guy cornered her and “accused” her of “going to vote for him” (as if that’s a sin??) and she replied “you mean, vote-d. I already did.” Why did she have to answer to this guy? Why did she have to be part of a secret part of that group who had voted for a Democratic president?

Because, let me get this out and I’ll get off my soap-box, there are more of Jesus’ teachings that line up with the Democratic party’s ideals– helping the poor, helping women, helping children… but it all gets ignored because heaven-forbid Democrats believe that women are allowed to make decisions for their body and their life! It makes me sick that politics and religion are so intertwined in our country. We’re not a Christian nation– the founding fathers weren’t even Christians! They were not establishing a “Christian nation”– hence the “separation of church and state.”

Okay, I’m off my soap-box now. I’m not looking for a debate about this stuff, and I’m not attacking anyone one person in particular, but groups of people in general. I know there are always exceptions. But those few exceptions are not who I am talking about.