The Most Important Thing I Learned From My Father.

I’m scared to write about what I’m thinking these days.

There’s a reason why only a third of Americans talk about their faith outside of their families.

At best, talking about spirituality might get me ignored. At worst, it will get me labelled as a fanatic.

But at the same time, I’ve learned things, that in my deepest of hearts I know to be true

Things that I believe can help to relieve our collective worries, give our lives meaning and connect us to what’s truly most important in our lives.

And what I have learned is this:

Whether you were raised staunchly Catholic like I was or not, Christianity has had a harmful impact on all of us over the last 2000 years. And that influence is still deeply embedded in our culture, our traditions and our psyches, even though most of us no longer go to church.

I am motivated by my father who was raised very Catholic. He never missed a Sunday service. He was educated by nuns and prayed daily. He introduced my mother to Catholicism and my brother and I to the rosary. He placed basins of holy water in our rooms, crucifixes over our beds and gave us bibles.

He trusted the Catholic Church to give him guidance on what it means to be a good human.

But instead what he got was messaging that he was full of sin and unworthy of God’s love. These messages were both preached and beaten into him.

These untruths filled my father with an anxiety he was never able to control. One that kept him from having any true intimacy or connection with this family. One that impacted his emotional, financial and mental health.

Instead of being told about his light he was only shown the dark.

When I look around, I see all of us impacted by the stories Christianity has told us.

  • The message of being “full of sin” has too many of us believing we are unworthy, not good enough or somehow undeserving of abundance and love.
  • The message that “God is outside of us”, has all of us impulsively looking outwards to sooth our unease. We shop, we drink, we watch tv. We seek something outside ourselves to make ourselves feel better.
  • The message that “heaven is for the afterlife” has too many of us ignoring the sacred beauty that can be found here, today, on this planet, in this lifetime.
  • The message of “God is male” has been used to restrict women from having a voice, from sitting at the decision-making table, and from taking the lead.

Thankfully we are making strides in some of these areas, but too many of us still believe that we are unworthy. To many of us don’t realize, that what we are looking for, can actually be found inside.

It is time for a shift.

It is time for us to write a new story about spirituality. One this is built on truth – a truth that is woven through many of the contemplative traditions across time and cultures including the feminine Christian one that was squashed 2000 years ago

What you seek is inside.

You are worthy of love.

Heaven is within reach on this planet.

And, just like Jesus, we are are all capable of great acts of love and courage.

I am not a Christian. I am a humanist. I believe in the collective beauty and love inside all of us. I believe we are all worthy and its time for that story to be told.

A few years before my father’s passing, he went to church like he usually did on a Sunday. Except this time, he had had enough. When the priest went on about humans being full of sin, about everyone being unworthy to receive God’s love, my father stood up and declared bullshit. Right there in front of the entire congregation, inside the walls of the church that was supposed to bring him closer to God, he shone a light on the hypocrisy of all of it.

He boldly told the priest he was spreading lies and walked out of the church mid-service.

If, at 72, my father, could wake up to the truth of who we was, to the truth of what God is, we all can.

3 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing I Learned From My Father.”

  1. Dear Liz,
    Good morning . I agree with your sentiments. Your thoughts are rational. Organized religion has its flaws. I am somewhat familiar with the workings of Roman Catholicism / Judaism, I am respectful of the beliefs, customs and rituals which can be joyful, yet I also see legend and fables. I don’t advocate Marxism yet one quote is damn good – something like ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’ as opposed to the critical thinkers.
    Well done!

  2. Wow Liz – thank you for sharing such beautifully written insights. Such a thoughtful tribute to your father. You are so deeply deserving of love from both outside and within. I’m so grateful to be able to call you sister and thank you for your wisdom. I love you and your beautiful family to the moon and back. Xxx

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