On Belief

I’ve been reading writings by folk who are or were Christian ministers who no longer believe what they used to believe, in the way they used to believe.

Judging by the responses under the versions that take place on line, many readers are upset, disturbed, overwrought, let down, or otherwise in turmoil over the revelations and their authors. Others are non-plussed at all the fuss, as they’d never shared the ‘delusion’ in the first place.

I must admit to being a bit non-plussed myself.

Don’t most of us change our way of relating and speaking about our relationship with the cosmos?

Some (most?) Indigenous folk say ‘we are all related’. I take that to mean all aspects,
elements, critters and characters are related to one another and that no one part can take a step, move a particle or breathe a breath without having some sort of an effect on at least one other.

We are all related, and we must all, therefore, relate.

Granted, we are unique in our separate beings. No two exactly alike, no one the carbon of the other. Holding a uniquely identifying codification, each part relates with the others that come, in some eventual combination, to be a whole.

The dance of relationship is, that which tells us what we’re all about. Philosophers opine that existence is defined out of relationship. We know ourselves to be by, through and against our relationship by, to and against others. We are soft, rock is hard, we are animate, rock is stasis, we are quick, rock is slow.

While we relate out of our selves, it is hard to imagine how we might relate if there was nothing else to relate with. Relationship cannot happen in a vacuum. So….

Back to where I began. Preachers, Pastors, Priests and Prophets evolving through their relationships with the cosmos should not be a surprise. Not to them, nor to anyone else. In some ways, we are relationship.

How we define the relationship…well that’s as changeable as the terms I’d have used as an infant (s/he who feeds me is god); or a toddler (I see, I demand, I am); an adolescent (I am anything you’re not, I am not anything you say I am); a teen (I am uncertain, but willing to do anything to prove I’m not); a young adult (I am right, you need to get over yourself); a thirty something (I am in my prime, finally); a middle ager (I am beginning to get a sense that the universe is very large and I am very small); and on, and on…

I am not surprised so many have fallen out of comfort with the rote, regime, routine, rite, ritual and regulation of religion and religious institutions. I am surprised that they’d define the falling out as the end of their relationship with the essence of being that is the whole, and the singularity, and the all, and the none. That is, the relations.

We are all related.

There will be no falling out of that.

Not now.

Not ever.

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About Keith Simmonds

Born and raised in the middle north (Kitimat BC and Flin Flon MB), I've worked 30 years in Mining/Smelting and the Pulp industry, while engaging in political action, community organizing, and union activism on the side. In and Out of Spiritual Being, my faith journey is through a Christian context, although I honour, uphold and am fascinated by other paths to the mountain. I began my training in diaconal ministry with the United Church of Canada in 2004, and began serving as a minister in Rossland, Trail, Beaver Valley and Salmo BC in 2009. My family and I moved to Duncan BC in August of 2013, where I serve as part of the ministry team. My partner, Laurel Walton, and I have five children between us. Liam attends Cow High, Jonah lives and works in Duncan, Brenna resides in Courtenay, Amy and her partner, Craig are in Vancouver, and Wade is in Calgary. My parents and siblings live in Kamloops, BC.

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