I was baptized, raised Catholic, and went to Sunday school. But after my 2nd grade communion, talks about The Bible stopped in my house. Maybe it was because by the time I was in third grade, my parents divorced; maybe not. Although I don't remember what the real reason was, all I know is that my parents were never big on enforcing their religious points of views on me.
Nonetheless, it wasn't until my freshman year of College that I was reintroduced to the Christian faith through a friend on campus. He was very passionate about recruiting me, so I went just once and saw a few people speaking in tongues by the alter. I was shocked. People were crying frantically, falling to the ground, jumping and shouting songs of praise. I can't lie; it freaked me out, so I left and never returned.
However, now that I think about it... The reason I went was because I had an encounter with an evil spirit. (Or at least it had felt that way) I remember being chased down the street by a black shadow. In fact, it was so close that I just about felt it on my back. And yet every time I turned around, nothing was there. I knew that I wasn't imagining it... It felt too real. I thought that by the time I'd make it to the train station, I'd be rid of it, but I was wrong. When I got on the train, It got on with me. (I'm not making this up) This spirit, or entity, or whatever one wishes to call it, actually followed me the whole way home. I remember calling my ex-boyfriend to rush over. And I don't know why, but thank god he believed me!
So that was the reason for my friend wanting to recruit me into his Christian faith, which was a little bit different than being Catholic because he was specifically a Born Again. Yet as I've mentioned earlier, visiting his church didn't feel right to me, so I left.
A few years later, I decided to go to "Times Square Church". I don't exactly remember what prompted me to attend, but I remember being about twenty two years old or so, and I just needed to seek spiritual guidance. Well, the choir was amazing! And the preaching hit my gut most of the time. I did indeed feel a powerful presence, but after about three or four months of attending church, there were just a few things missing for me.
I definitely believed in a higher power, (and still do) and I definitely believed that all human beings were born with a divine purpose. We weren't created just to exist, but we were placed here with an assignment, and we know what that assignment is by the pain we feel because if it stirs our hearts, then that is what we are here to fix/solve. But if we don't care about something, than it is not really our place to help in that specific situation. (You can't force someone to care about something.) However, there are certain people who feel compelled to do certain things. In fact, they become obsessed about completing the task. Well, that's called our dharma. And in the Christian faith, they definitely talk about the individual missions that God lays out for us. In other words, there is a special job that is inscribed inside all of our hearts by God, and that is the work in which we are called forth to do while we live on this planet.
But then there were other things that didn't quite make sense to me, such as adopting the belief that if I just accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior, then I would be forgiven for all of my sins and accepted into the Kingdom of heaven. That one I didn't buy. I did however, believe that Jesus Christ existed and was crucified. I do believe that he was chosen, or appointed by God to fulfill his mission of being an enlightened prophet who would lead the people out of mental & spiritual slavery. But I did not believe that accepting him "alone" would be enough for all of my sins to be forgiven. In fact, I had a hard time believing that if I didn't accept him as my lord and savior, that I would be doomed to an eternity in a place called Hell... However...
Due to my encounter a few years ago of being chased down a city block by an invisible entity, I do believe that evil does exist. Not only because of that incident, but I've had others before and after. Although not all of them were bad, some were good. I've had dreamt of things that have come to pass, visions I guess one might call them, and I've seen how God works through people, giving me blessings through certain opportunities. However, with everything that I've mentioned about good and evil, I just could not, for the life of me, believe that Jesus Christ was God's only son. I thought that we were all his children.
Finally I asked this question... "Why did the church I attend usually read from the "New Testament" but not the "Old Testament"?
It was the "Old Testament" that I became more interested about because the "New Testament" seemed to be written by men. I know that they say the bible was written by God, but of course a human hand had to take action while the inspiration poured in through their minds and fingers. However, something about the "Old Testament" seemed more ancient and sacred to me. A little less untouched and changed by the generations. You've all heard the story about... Adam & Eve.
It was these things that I wanted to learn about. That's when I learned that my quest for spiritual knowledge begun to shift into Judaism. I didn't realize this until a friend of mine told me, "If you believe in God and that we are all connected, and you like going to Church but you just don't believe in original sin or that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, well then, you're a Jew."
I had never thought of it that way before. But then again, what do I know about being Jewish? I was baptized as a Catholic. In any case, I guess just like anything else in life, everything is a mystery. Who would really, truly, and honestly, have ALL of the answers to everything??? And even if we all read the Old & New Testament, don't people still have difficulty understanding the bible, or much less, agreeing on the meaning of its proper perspective?
I still do believe that life is a journey and that where our hearts propel us to go is the right way. I also believe that if we pray sincerely, then God, or our "higher" power, will speak to us in whichever way we can understand, be it Spanish, Chinese, English, or through our faith. For these religions are channels that connect us to a higher source of universal love, but it is up to us to remain open and clear so that we may allow it to fill us up with its radiant energy of truth, love and light.
Thus, as I continue on my path as a creative artist, (since this is the lifestyle I chose) I continue to seek God's internal guidance through my intuition that will prompt me to do the work that I have been called here to do. Till next time...