Faith Is Never Found In A Building
During this Coronavirus Pandemic, many people, on both sides of the topic, feel very vocal and passionate regarding churches and other religious buildings being open even though this virus is not going away anytime soon. Too many people in an enclosed building is considered by the CDC to be high risk. I totally get how church can be appealing to some folks; it’s a place to gather with your neighbors and the community and enjoy great food and conversation afterwards. Churches hold social events, holiday gatherings and even “singles night” for that someone searching for that spiritual someone else. But there is also a money factor tied to it for some. Religious organizations are non-profit, so they depend on money from their “flock”.
For me, I personally am not a fan of church. I have seen a lot of hypocrisy and not all practice ‘inclusion’. But I do have Christian friends, a very small handful, that truly love their church and feel a somewhat deep connection to it. During this pandemic, they missed going to their church. I don’t think it is a ‘building’ to them, but a place to gather and share the same type of worship as themselves and it gives them that feel good feeling in their heart that they truly need. Some people truly need that. I am not here to argue about should we go to church or not. Everyone has their own journey and soul path regarding all that.
I have seen, well, seen on social media, (I don’t attend church) very wealthy people donate at their small town churches to give them social status. I have witnessed cheating husbands go to church 3-4 times a week, while they teach their children racial comments, cheat on their wife and shun a gay sibling. For many that building is a ‘cover up’, a facade and a way to wash away any wrongs they may have. Those particular individuals, are their own ‘false Gods’. As with all things, we must always truly come from a place of kindness and mindfulness. They truly did not.
Now, I am here to blog about how ‘faith’ and ‘connection to Spirit’ have absolutely nothing to do with a building, a certain pastor, or how much money you have to give in the offering basket. Those last three things I mentioned are ‘tangible’….the building, the pastor, the money. Faith is NOT tangible, like love it is an inner knowing that is real for us. What I love about Buddhism is that they practice love, kindness and compassion. It resonates with me. Faith in your heart or a belief system must feel right and align with your very spirit. It guides you to do what you do is right.
My ‘church’ was a farm called Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary (they added cats since then.) . While living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, I experienced some conflicting situations that lead to a lot of sorrow and illness. I learned what a hypocrite was very well. I needed something for my soul. I needed to channel my sorrow into something that was good, that gave me purpose, that could benefit another being. It was horses. That sanctuary was my very own church. I saw God in everything! I saw God in the beautiful clear sky, yet also in the afternoon rainstorms that blew in. I saw God in a huge Belgian horse named Mikey, that brought me the best friendship a girl could ever have! I saw God in the buttercups and dandelions. My faith, my heart, my connection to the planet and the sentient beings around me, was right there on that farm on a hill. Most importantly, I felt God was in me.
Honestly, I refer to the term ‘God’ as Spirit. Spirit was alive and well in me. My actions, my intentions, my heart. That is what connection to God or Spirit truly is. It is not a physical thing, it is not someone reading from a book with their version of how things are to be. I ask you not to get caught up in the ‘open church or not’ argument. Your faith has nothing to do with the address of where you go each Sunday. Nobody is taking away anyone’s right to practice their faith. If people feel this way, they are missing the true meaning of their religious beliefs. They are allowing that background noise to seep into their consciousness. You don’t need a building. Jesus didn’t.
What are you doing with your life right now? How has it changed since the pandemic? Are you practicing your faith in new ways? Are you growing? Are you coming from a place of love? If your ascended master (Jesus, Buddha, etc) was in front of you, would they be full of joy with your life and how you are living it? Are you truly living their truths that you read from in your book?
During this pandemic, I am now living in Florida, we finally left Tennessee after 5 long years in 2018. My church is now the ocean, a tree on the beach covered in shells, Clearwater Marine Aquariaum and my backyard which is filled with fairy gardens, palm trees, honey bees and flowers. Connection to a higher power comes from within, it’s not a building. As you radiate that love and compassion to others, that is where the faith is.
Whenever I didn’t understand other people’s actions towards others, be it religion, politics or anything, my spiritual teacher and spiritual mother, Mrs. Dianna Parks-Isam would say “now, now, they are just on their own journey. Bless them and keep moving on. Think of it as a school. Some are in 3rd grade, some are in high school or college. You have been there too.” (We definitely believe in reincarnation too). It made perfect sense. It wasn’t that if you were in a higher grade than someone else you were better, it was just that you were there in that time, learning what your soul needed. What perspective.
In 2017, Dianna passed away, but I hold onto all she taught me. It helps me get through daily life and major events such as this pandemic. I know she is looking down during this Coronavirus saying “I skipped that party!” My heart smiles just thinking about her. She was a real fairy Godmother type. Her love and grace live on in me. She was head of her own church called New Horizons Church, a church with no walls Dianna would say. Other like minded spiritual and metaphysical people would become ‘ministers’ and help others around the world when called to. It was like a big spiritual family. I personally never felt comfortable with the term ‘minister’ and never referred to myself as such, but I loved Dianna dearly and embraced her teachings on love, life and Great Spirit. She would tell great stories about the elders she met at the Hopi Reservations and all the connections to other teachers on her spiritual journey that was never ending. She had so much wisdom. I miss her. Dianna was living proof, that she didn’t need a building or anything tangible to do her spiritual work. She was, and still is, one of the greatest spiritual teachers in my life. I considered myself very blessed.
My other great teacher on faith was my birth mother, Catherine Butera. Here is a post from one of my social media pages…
My mother raised me spiritual not religious and when I was a kid, she sent me to 3 churches…Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran. She asked how I liked them. I didn’t. Me personally am not a church goer, neither was mom. (Some love it, need it and that’s awesome for them). Mom then asked if I felt closer to “God” in those churches. I said no. She said “that’s because “God” dwells in here.” She pointed to my heart. I will always remember that sacred moment. My “church” was in the mountains where I volunteered at a horse rescue. My yard of peace, is my church. The healing ocean is my church. Goodness and grace and truth of where we come from…dwells deep inside us.❤️
I am not “Christian” but we too definitely get called to help our world ❤️all people of goodness help our world…all faiths as well as non faith. I see a lot of posts about “Christians” doing “god’s work”…..but all do “light” work and don’t need to be a specific religion to do so.
So while people argue on whether or not it is safe to be inside a building to worship their God, or we have a person in the White House who insists that churches be open because they are ‘necessities’, ask yourself this: since when did a building become your passage to spiritual connection? Jesus prayed on a mountain and Buddha under a Bodhi tree. Faith and belief is not a tangible thing. It is something we feel. It is in the kindness we give to others. Some of you may truly be missing that connection to your church or religious establishment, but think of this time as a way to truly connect to your God in a loving, new way. It is a chance for spiritual growth. Sometimes growth and change is scary, but good for us. My challenging time in Tennessee made me a better person with a whole new perspective on things. As painful as it was, I cannot wish it all away. (Maybe just when I got sick.)
We also hear a lot of “Christians” doing “God’s work” and I am here to say that all wonderful souls who chose to do so, do “God’s work” in their own way. You do not need to be a certain religious person of a certain faith to do good to others, nor do you need a church. Many people and organizations commit their lives to helping others, to rescuing horses, saving sea turtles, helping the homeless and so on. They may or may not even walk into a church, yet they do good deeds to shift the consciousness of this Green Planet.
Every bit of kindness matters in the world. It spreads like dandelions blown in a breeze. Kindness is contagious. Faith stems from these good deeds. Not necessarily faith as in something religious, maybe faith in one’s self, or their community or faith you can change the world. Many of you may simply miss the ‘togetherness’ that church offers. Just remember that faith dwells inside you. You will never find it in a building. So don’t look there. It lives inside you.
November 20, 2020
May 29, 2020