What I Believe:

So. Last Sunday Micah and I joined the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa.
We both took a course called UU 101 - which was an enlightening look at the foundations of Unitarian Universalism which several people are quite unfamiliar with.
And then, to further explore my personal faith, I followed it up with a course entitled Building Your Own Theology. I was intrigued by the title and honestly had no idea what to expect. I assumed I would lay out my foundation of faith summing it up by saying, "I'm a Catholic because it works for me."
What happened instead was I took a good, long, hard, honest look at the things that I truly believed. I'd never honestly done that before. I had never considered what I believed outside of, "oh I'm Catholic." Despite the fact that I have spent years studying religions, drawing spiritual experiences from all kinds of faiths, setting my moral compass by - not the Ten Commandments but what I felt was true.
And this Credo was what I came up with.
The minister read it aloud to the congregation last Sunday and I must say I haven't been that nervous since my first speech in Public Speaking my first year of college.
Anyway - without further ado.

Leaps of Faith
A Credo 

When it comes to things on this earth I enjoy, it is hard to list anything higher than taking leaps of faith. I love nothing more than getting the invitation or the inspiration to hit a running start and leap into a new idea – be it spiritual, scientific, metaphorical or religious. I honestly feel that jumping into a new religious, spiritual or philosophical idea is better than jumping into any cool spring on a hot summer day. I love landing into pool that is a different or new religion. I find myself surrounded by new ideas and moral codes. Some of these pools seem so full of these ideas; some are a bit polluted by ideas given by corrupted men; some are full of ideas I can’t even grasp at, but all seem to offer something that I’ve been able to take with me when I leave the pool.
From the pool that I grew up in, Protestant Christianity, I have taken my fundamental belief – “god” is love. For me, god is not an old man sitting up in the clouds keeping a tally of gold stars of good behavior and black X’s for when you screw up. God is simply love. I feel the only way I can access this god is through love, through showing love, seeing love in others and feeling love for all sorts of things.
From the pool I dipped my toes into in high school, Paganism, I took my main moral code – if it harm none, do what though will. This idea rang truer to me than any set of commandments or moral codes that I ever came across anywhere else. To me, it allows everyone the freedom from silly old laws passed thousands of years ago and instructs you to be good to people. Above all, consider how your actions will affect those around you.
From the pool of Buddhism, I learned two of the most important things I ever heard, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." It may sound strange, but this was a radical idea to me. Finding a religion that told you to trust yourself was revolutionary in my eyes. And since then, I’ve listened to that little voice in my head when it told me that maybe something didn’t make sense. From this idea, I began to piece together my own faith. The second thing I learned in this pool was that no one tradition monopolizes the truth. I had begun to suspect this after a few years of jumping around, reading books upon books of different world religions, but to have it so clearly spelled out left me with an understanding of the fact that I probably would have spent a much longer time attempting to realize.
From the pool of the Hare Krishnas that I attempted to study on a purely academic level I was introduced to the idea that all of these pools I had been jumping into were filled and maintained by the same deep wellspring. That perhaps all of these different ideas that were inspired by “god” or “reason” or some sort of “enlightened being” were coming from a love that underpins every search for Truth.
The final pool that has so far laid a layer upon the foundation of my spiritual belief is the Catholic pool. From this pool I found a deep appreciation for mystery. To me, spirituality and religion is a mystery and while swimming around the Catholic pool I found this idea that mysteries are okay, that meditating and pondering on mysteries lead to a direct connection with god. It’s easy for me to feel spiritual when I think upon all of the great ideas that have come before me that I don’t understand. I believe that in all of these mysteries – scientific, religious, philosophical, and spiritual, lead us to love, to god.
Being so ridiculously young, I know that I will have time to add to my beliefs, to alter them to dive into even more pools that I never even imagined. But for now, I put my faith more than anything, in mysteries. I believe that in the great unknown there is hope. For more than anything, I believe that anything is possible. I like to keep my mind open and curious. I like to believe that in humanity we see the divine. And I like to believe that there is always hope. 


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