Kailash

Belief-O-Matic (My Spiritual Journey, part 2)

As you can tell from the title, this is #2 in a series about my spiritual journey. The first post in this series isn’t labelled, but you’ll find it here.

Belief-O-Matic is an online quiz at the Beliefnet website. It claims to be able to tell you, based on your answers to 20 questions, what religion you should practice, or at least learn more about. It’s mostly for fun. The questions are based on stated beliefs of many religious groups, and although some of the questions seem to have vague or incomplete answers, it can give you a pretty good idea of what religions match what you believe. I take it every 6-8 months, just to see how things are. Surprisingly (or maybe not), my results are pretty consistent. A few groups always make it into the top 5, with the #1 spot being 1 of 2 groups. The bottom groups are always pretty similar, too. I guess my beliefs are pretty consistent after all. Anyway, here’s the results from yesterday: Continue reading

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Four

Four

Four

So much of our lives in western culture are defined by the number four: four seasons, four horsemen of the Apocalypse, four ages (infancy, youth, adulthood, old age), the Final Four in college basketball. I could go on and on.

A lot of this is strictly cultural. After all, if we lived in another part of the world, we might only recognize two seasons (wet/dry, hot/cool). Why only four horsemen? There are a lot more horrible things out there than conquest, war, famine, and death.

Why isn’t five to be a more natural number? After all, we have five fingers on each hand. It’s how we learn to count. Or ten. Most of the major western languages use a decimal system of counting, and the metric system of measurement used in most of the world is based on ten. Still, four is one of the most commonly used numbers in our culture. For some of us, it’s even more important. Continue reading

There’s a Method(ist) to My Madness

I feel like talking about my spiritual journey, this being Easter weekend, and all. It’s been interesting so far, with more yet to come (I hope!), so I’ll be doing this in stages. Today, it’s the early part of the journey: my younger years.

: Old United Methodist Church building

: Old United Methodist Church building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was raised in the United Methodist church. Well, technically, I guess the first part was in the Methodist church, since it was pre-merger. I grew up in a small town in southern Indiana, and it was a fairly small congregation, in a small white-frame church building. For the longest time, until a Church of Christ congregation arrived, it was the only church in town. Even though it wasn’t that big, it was pretty active. Church camps, Bible studies, revivals, various holiday gatherings, we had it all. I remember the music was excellent. There was a lot of great singers who went to that church, including my mother. My father was choir leader, and he has a strong musical background. He played in a jazz group before we moved out of the city. We even had good pianists and organists. There really was a lot of talent in that church!

Anyway, along came adolescence, and I was having some issues. I finally decided I wasn’t going to that church, and I was lucky that my parents didn’t push the issue. I was learning more about other Christian denominations and world religions, and I wasn’t comfortable with a lot of the Methodist theology. That’s where my spiritual journey really began. Through the years, I’ve kept up with what the United Methodist church is doing (although that congregation no longer exists), but I’ve never really felt any need to attend a Methodist church. Apparently, none of the rest of my family has, either. My parents started going to a Disciples of Christ congregation when they move back north (probably a better fit for my mother, who was raised Southern Baptist). My brother’s family goes to a non-denominational congregation of some sort. As for me? Well, that’s what this whole thing’s about. I’ll tell more about that in a future article.

Resolutions?

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation. Frequently unrealistic, made with great enthusiasm, they’re often broken just as enthusiastically. In fact, those are the reasons I haven’t made any in some years. This year, though, I think I’ll make some modest resolves.

First, I plan on getting rid of clutter from my life. I’ve got far too much stuff in my life, and it’s taking way too many resources to maintain them. I figure if I get rid of just a little every day, then by the end of the year there won’t be nearly as much clutter as there is now.

That’s really the big one. I’ve set my personal 2013 Reading Challenge on Goodreads for 28 books, which should be pretty easy to do. I’m going to focus on getting my graduate school application done, and take some classes toward completing my MLS degree so I can keep my state certification up, but that’s about it.

As for the more traditional resolutions, I do plan on losing weight, but I’m not going to do anything special to do so. Just try to eat more sensibly and get some more exercise. That should help get some health issues under control.

That’s it, really. One major project and a few minor ones. Completing those should give me a sense of accomplishment that will help me accomplish more things in the future.