There is a line from a song that hits me every time I hear it. Since I have worked for three years in casual restaurants that play the same cursed Adult Alternative Muzak station, I have heard this song about a billion times. (I’m serious, a billion.) It’s Indigo Girls “Closer to fine.”
I used to think the point of this song was really immoral and sacreligious, the story of spending time in church and educational institutions trying to figure out the truth and live it to the fullest. But the more I live my life the way I do now, the more I think the opposite is true. It’s important to me to be a productive person in society, family, work, relationships etc, but honestly, “the less I seek my source for some definitive, closer I am to fine.” How that is, I don’t know.
I used to be an exemplary Christian, dedicated and involved in the church, studying my Bible every day in my quiet time and seeking what God wanted for me with every step. I mean, I tried to do all those things as much as I could. I never felt that God really told me what I should be doing despite all my efforts and I grew upset and frustrated for it. I was taught that not doing all the things Christians do would lead to a lifestyle that would be unfulfilling, ultimately unhappy and discontented. I went next door and to the other side of the world thinking I could please God if I did what the church taught. Then I just let go of it all. I wouldn’t say I “fell away” as I’m sure many people would describe me, but I let go.
When I let go and started living my life in a similar but less restricted way, things changed. I don’t feel like I let God down or that I’ve lost His blessing. I feel as though I don’t fit in in the church. Without digressing into a lot of theology, I’m just not quite convinced that everything is the way they say it is. I see lots of inconsistencies in people, the Bible and the church. If God is the God of the Bible than he’s sometimes a little crazy. Modern Christians have created ways to talk our way out of so many criticisms of the Bible, of so many questions and doubts that are real. Does this mean I don’t believe in God or don’t consider myself a Christian? No, and yes and no. I know nothing else but Christianity. I’m not drawn to any other religion for many reasons. I’m also no longer part of the mainstream church. A few years ago I would have said to someone like me that sooner or later I will regret my “letting go,” that I will “need” God in a more tangible way and that I am missing the true calling of my life. But if my spirit, soul and person feels more content than ever in life than why should I go on pretending that there is some huge piece missing?