Word of the Week

My Faith is Essential to Who I Am

There seems to be nothing profound about this statement. If you know anything about my background, you know that I graduated from seminary and I served two particular churches as a full-time pastor for 6 years. I blog all the time about religious centric topics. Duh, of course, my faith is essential to who I am. Case closed.

But, something about stating this as fact at this juncture of my life feels different. Maybe even scares me a little.

I don't feel I'm not the kind of person who just comes out and says such so bluntly. And I really hate being lumped with these kinds of Christians who might come from these camps and start conversation with judgment before love . . .

I think actions speak for themselves. Do I love? Do I forgive? Do I consider someone's needs before my own? Words are not always necessary.

But then this weekend, as I worked on another draft of the book proposal for my upcoming memoir about grief, I realized something I'd never thought of in such a strong way. And that is: my faith is essential to who I am.

As I wrote the words on the page of this proposal, it felt like I had invited myself into my own coming out party.

For, there was no way I could describe the book I've written without talking about the interwoven themes of God's provisions, God's love and God's direction within my story.

I just couldn't.

And even though I so desperately don't want an expression of my faith to be lumped together with the kind of Christian paths that I've seen hurt people and that (in my humble opinion) don't seem to be grounded in the teachings of Jesus, I couldn't tell my story without it being a FAITH story.

As I wrote the marketing plan for the book that I hope one day soon with convince a publisher to want to print my narrative (hopefully a non-religious publisher!), I couldn't help but think that the reason why I believe my spiritual memoir will sell is because search of something, or someone greater than ourselves IS what deep down we're ALL looking for. Search for spiritual connection to the Divine and one another is essential to the human experience.

And with all of this true, we crave stories of faith in all shapes and sizes.

We crave stories that will tell us how others made movement in their lives when all seemed lost.

We craves stories that tell us how messy weaves of relationships can survive deep wounds.

We crave stories that tell us how hope born in our hearts rides the waves of the most turbulent storms.

And, though at first glance my book might seem off-putting to the very people I want to reach with my story--
those on the edge of a religious tradition
those who are in the throws of deep grief without a faith community
or those who have only experienced people of faith as obnoxious

I can't tell my story any other way than: faith is essential to who I am.

What about you? How do you talk about the spiritual part of you? Or do you talk about it at all?