Monday, March 06, 2006


Terry Tempest Williams's Refuge made me think a lot about my faith, and finding comfort in it. It was beautiful to me, the way she clung to her Mormon traditions during a very hard time in her life; but at the same time as being a devoted Mormon, she also questioned many of the cultural traditions. She made her faith personal to her, by thinking about it in terms of the world around her and not just in terms of what had been ingrained in her from childhood.

I've felt differently about a lot of the mainstream Christian ideals lately. Once I would have called myself a political conservative; now I prefer not to think about politics at all, in relation to my beliefs. It seems stupid to me, when I really think about it, to comingle politics and Christianity anyway. When my ancestors came to America in the 1600s it was for religious freedom from the Anglican Church. Now conservative Christians want to outlaw, one by one, every non-Christian practice. You cannot pass laws to force a religion on someone--you have to show them and cause them to believe that your religion is something worth living for.

I love being a Christian. I love God and I love experiencing Him in the world around me, every day, in new and exciting ways. But for a long time I believed and subscribed to everything every other Christian told me. Now, I prefer to learn about God's heart myself, with nothing but my Bible and the Holy Spirit to lead me. That's what I felt like Terry Tempest Williams was doing, when she blessed her mother in private when women in her religion had no official authority to do so. I felt like she did that throughout the book, in little ways. Her deep connection with nature helped her to experience her faith in ways that one could not if one were not willing to dig deeper into the heart of everything. I feel like, in seeking God through the natural world, I have learned a lot more about God than a Baptist pastor would tell me on a Sunday morning. I can see the Psalms come alive with depth and meaning. I can see so many different sides of His character, one piece at a time. Seeking Him for myself has meant so much for me and helped me to mature in my faith.

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