yesterday i read the short but packed little book living gnosticism: an ancient way of knowing by jordan stratford. as i was reading, i kept doing little fist pumps and exclaiming ‘yes!’ under my breath (or maybe not so under my breath…). over the last decade or so i have evolved from being a fundamentalist born-again christian with some unanswered questions to someone who ‘believes’ in god, still with unanswered questions, and thinks that while religion is great at pointing at the ineffableness of god, it ultimately gets in the way of a person experiencing god. i saw the underlying truth of Religion, but the dogma and the myopia of it all basically turned me off (and still does). not being a fan of being labeled or pigeon-holed, i just saw myself as someone who loves god, someone who was the dreaded cliché ‘spiritual but not religious’.
while completing my degree last year, i read a number of books that discussed gnosticism in depth and have found that i’ve based much of what i believe now on what i read then. still, reading stratford’s book yesterday caused a light bulb to go off above my dreadlocked head: um, gail, it looks like you might be gnostic. this ‘label’ doesn’t even matter so much, as it’s not like there’s any sort of gnostic community whatsoever here in the mostly spiritually homogeneous midwest. however, it’s also nice to know that there are people alive today who seem to really get the nature of reality and also are in love with mystery and beauty and wonder and questioning. it’s okay to not know the answers and it’s okay to get a different answer than the person sitting next to you.
at any rate, over the last day or so, i’ve pretty much read through stratford’s entire blog as well as having looked at many other websites having to do with gnosticism. many entries from his blog stand out for me, but this one in particular, god and faith for the non-god-and-faith crowd, expounds much more eloquently than i ever could on my feelings about god and faith and belief. and this has caused me to look at all these various little elements in my life, such as this little altar i already have set up to honor the divine feminine (i’d take a picture, but my camera is off in europe without me at the moment) or my fascination with the matrix trilogy or the realization of how integral many elements of gnosticism are (or can be), and i wonder why i didn’t pick up on this last year, if not sooner. (i was probably stressed just trying to get my damn thesis done.)
most importantly, this has helped me to realize that it’s okay that i’m not a christian anymore. yet it’s also okay for me to embrace jesus and mary magadalene and the other apostles and other aspects of christianity, not because any of it is to be taken literally, but for what it all can symbolize and how it can help me in my quest to know myself.
i think this is all pretty dang awesome. 🙂