Polyreligious? Your Turn

Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

My spiritual life has seen a lot of changes. After my Baptist childhood, I had a “born-again” experience in my early teens, and began to see my life with God as a spiritual adventure, which I lived in a wide variety of Christian environments, from Methodism, Messianic Judaism, and the Charismatic movement, to the Disciples of Christ, Lutheranism, and Catholicism.

In addition, ever since my college years, I’ve been learning as well from other religions, and in the last several years, it’s become much more than academic. I study with a Zen master, and sometimes pray in temples as well as my own church. I read the *Upanishads*, *Tao Te Ching*, and *Dhammapada* in the same light which I read the Gospels.

I sometimes don’t know whether to think I’m a part of all religions or apart from all religions. All I can say is I hear the voice of God in a lot of places, and I want to see and know everything as part of God’s self. (I like your self-description of “freelance panentheist,” Darrell!)

But it isn’t easy for me. Being both introverted and single, I find it a lonely path. I’m often misunderstood, and sometimes I can’t effectively reach out to others because they find me too “far out,” or heretical, to hear me. I’ve had the experience of sometimes feeling like an outsider in my church. If I’m paying attention, the Creed can be difficult. I stand silently during it, or recite it with my own wider-than-usual interpretations in mind!

So I’m wondering what it’s like for you… Do any of you have similar problems, or is that all far behind you? Do you sometimes feel torn? Misunderstood? Even guilty for going farther than what your friends or family consider to be “within bounds?” Have you had to make a “clean break” with some of your past religious environments? What do you do to integrate the different traditions and experiences you learn from within your life?

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