Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

My Year Of Believing Dangerously

I’ve been struggling with faith this year. I’ve been struggling with faith for a lot of years, but this year has been particularly complicated, with the death of my father figuring as the most complicated – and painful – of complications. I feel like I need some spiritual grounding now more than ever. For myself, and for my children.


I’m still ambivalent about how to do that. But just like with matters of health and fitness and personal ambition, sitting around ruminating on my ambivalence isn’t helping matters. So I’ve decided that I should do something about that ambivalence. Challenge it, test it, submit it to rigorous workouts. I’m doing that with my disinclination to exercise (hence the resolution to run the Tiarathon, if I ever come out of this viral fog), why not do it with my spiritual malaise?

My resolution: to devote time every week to exploring, seriously, ways and means of exercising my spiritual muscles, to challenging my ambivalence, to seeing if there is, perhaps, a religious practice that I can believe in – and, if not, if there is something else out there that meets my spiritual needs. I’ll read books and visit churches and talk to people. I’ll try.


And then I’ll try some more. And if I’m still ambivalent by the end of the year, well… I hope that I won’t be. I hope that I’ll have arrived somewhere, that I’ll have settled some questions for myself. Maybe that will mean finding God again, maybe it won’t. Whatever I find, though, I know that it will be good.

As will the journey itself. That’s the whole point, really.

Comments read comments(17)
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posted January 7, 2010 at 7:21 am

Don’t forget about the Goddess in your journeys : )

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posted January 7, 2010 at 8:38 am

Atheism does have comfort to offer in the face of death. Among other things, it offers the comfort that death and suffering aren’t deliberately caused by a God who supposedly loves us, and we don’t have to torture ourselves figuring out what we did wrong to cause it.

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Amy B

posted January 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

For what it may be worth to you, I will be praying for you. :)

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posted January 7, 2010 at 11:54 am

Faith can be a touchy subject. I don’t struggle, necessarily with “faith” or “belief”, but with the people who tend to have “faith” or “belief”.
And for me, it’s far more beneficial to go through the motions on my own terms than to have to deal with modern day soldiers who have nothing but time on their hands to judge and second guess my life choices.
For Goodness sake, I deliberate on my choices enough. I don’t need a whole congregation calling them into question.
I hope, that above all, you find some comfort in one way or another.

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posted January 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

My agnostic/heathen husband has decided that what church gives me (and my daughter) is community–and that it is a good thing, regardless of his thoughts on God (which are few and far between). When the community has come together in support of my family, or any of the families that belong, he gets himself a glimpse of God…which he promptly discounts. But it’s there for that fleeting moment.
Go. Look. Feel. What I tell visitors to our church is that I hope they visit every one in town. I hope they check out the Temple, cause the Rabbi is really nice and the congregation is simply wonderful. And I do hope they come back, but more than that, I hope they find a place where they “fit” and can grow and strengthen through that community.

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posted January 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

My your journey be fruitful. Hopefully you’ll find God, though there are churches out there where that goal is sadly quite difficult to achieve. So I’ll be praying for low-key, high faith moments of spiritual clarity, as opposed to potlucks and pew politics. (Not that there’s anything wrong with a good potluck…)
And on the note about atheism, though I am not an atheist, I am so glad that I don’t believe in a God who deliberately causes suffering and death, nor do I believe that I do anything myself to cause it by His hand.

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posted January 7, 2010 at 11:58 am

Oops – that should have started “May”
Totally hard to type with an infant wriggling on your lap. :)

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posted January 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

Good luck. It takes a lot to undertake spiritual exploration. Hard to imagine how, after such an adventure, you could be worse off. Even if you do not find a place that fits you well, you will come out the other end having met new people and having learned more about yourself. Again, good luck.

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Your Name

posted January 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

In the last few years I’ve found alot of comfort going to church. Its so different choosing to go instead of my parents dragging me every week. Tho taking a 7 yr old and a 3 yr old makes it challenging (to say the least) to get everything I want out of the service, I still like it, its soothing, comforting, a balm on my soul.
Tho I too would like to be more in touch with my religious side, but don’t know how really. So I just make sure we pray at dinner, and say prayers at bedtime, and really mean them. I pray silently at night in bed sometims, thats a good thing I think. Anyway, its a start.
I wish you well in your exploration!

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posted January 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm

More importantly than finding a god, or something to believe in, I hope that you can find the answer to the spiritual emptiness you are feeling. God created us with a need for him, and whether we as a human race want to acknowledge it or not, it’s there. If you truly look for the answer with an open heart, I know that you will find a personal relationship with God’s son, Jesus Christ. The peace and fulfillment that will follow when you commit yourself to Him is unlike any other spiritual high you could experience…I can say this because I have tried. A church is nice for community and finding a support network in your faith and such like that, but the real fulfillment to your emptiness won’t come from people, it will come through Christ! Read the Bible, pray, and invite Jesus to come into your life and your heart and be a part of it. I pray you will find what you’re looking for! :)

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posted January 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Unity Church.
Marianne Williamson author of Return to Love is a founding minister.
Very spirtiula however not religous. Not sure if they are in Canada.

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Supa Dupa Fresh

posted January 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I don’t know a lot about your religious background but a few thoughts.
1. You might consider a Unitarian Universalist congregation or a Quaker meeting. Room to explore, a place to belong, but your mind is your own and the environment favors inquiry. No dogma, no credo, classes and comrades.
2. The UU’s publish a workbook set called Building Your Own Theology that’s a structured way to find where you are right now. One volume is at:
3. Just heard a really interesting interview with Karen Armstrong, a religious scholar, who says that “belief” as we understand it is a relatively modern invention. All the major world religions taught solely about actions and stayed out of people’s heads until the middle ages, some much later. The interview is here: (there’s a “listen” button upper right).
Will be interested to hear how your work goes and explore the other writers here.

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posted January 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm

It’s never easy, I think. And with the year you’ve had, it’s most certainly got to be quite difficult.
I’ve thought I’d found my place so many times, yet I still vacillate between belief and skepticism. Like Saisquoi, I have an agnostic/skeptical husband, but mine thinks of religion as something that actually hampers a person’s spiritual journey. Some days, I agree with him.
I even read The Case for Christ this year. I found it too sloppily constructed and hole-ridden to strengthen my belief. But then again, I guess that’s what faith is all about–believing something without having any real evidence. Faith is hard.
Good luck, and more than anything, I hope you find some spiritual peace and comfort.

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posted January 7, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I feel your pain. I struggle with faith and find myself going from church to church, looking for that elusive “something” Still looking, although doing more volunteer work and sometimes it feels closer to faith than anything I find in church.

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posted January 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

God loves truth seekers. If you seek truth it will eventually come to you. I, too, love journeyers. It is impossible to cover all the pitfalls to a journey in a format like this, and many well meaning ‘gurus’ will give their personal twists along the way. In our Americanized, convenience store society, we want fast and friendly service with no one making us go out of our way for something deep. What we forget is that truth is not conditional. (There are some people so intimidated by religious structure that they will argue that red isn’t really red just to keep people from telling them how to think – it’s counter-productive and ironic because it is the academia that often argues against the black and white of knowledge and truth…but I digress….) Truth requires acceptance and discipline of self. And while I’m not into a ‘works” mentality, commitment does require dedication and at least some level of selflessness.) This “Building Your Own Theology” is the exact opposite of truth seeking. Truth says I will find what is, not what I manipulate it to be. There is a God. He has an ETERNAL plan. There aren’t short cuts. But He has love and guidance along the way, like good parents would. He built you with purpose that only you can fulfill with your gifts and personality. As you find Him you find YOU – and an unquenchable joy and peace takes over your spirit. I wish these things for you in 2010. Blessings….

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