My friend Peter Turiansky asked me this question:
> You have spent a good part of your adult life seeking a deity and a faith community that meet certain criteria that have been established by, well,
> yourself. Does it not occur to you that any such god would be one of your own making, and not a real one at all?
I answered thusly:
The search for the community is not the same thing as the search for
God. Truly, I search for a community that shares my understanding of
God, rather than a community to tell me that God something different
than I already experience God as being.
The real question that applies to my own search is: how do we know the
"truth"? Do we need to be told by a traditional or dogmatic (etc.)
religious path, or do we need to find out for ourselves? When I
resist/leave a church, it is usually because the dictated
understanding of God does not compute. Rather than creating God, I
feel I am constantly discovering God, and because that has been
happening (for me) at such a personal level,it is increasingly obvious
to me that theologically I cannot be stuffed into a pre-existing box.
The appeal to Episcopalianism was the openness in terms of individual
interpretation. It seems to me that this is the case among Mennonites
as well, though as I said, there is much I do not know.
This actually addresses your previous question about me being a
closeted atheist. I might as well address that here!
I cannot find the article I mentioned..but it differentiated between
different kinds of belief, and I'm probably not being 100% faithful to
what that writer said, but that isn't really important:
1. Absolute certainty that there is a God, and "I" know that God.
2. Absolute certainty that there is a God, but I don't know that God.
--Seeker with Theism (not the right term)
3. It's possible that there is a God, but I don't believe there is.
4. It's possible that there is a God, and I believe there is.
5. I know for certain that there is no God. (Strong Atheism)
6. We cannot know either way, period. (Strong Agnosticism)
Something like that.
I fit number 4. My understanding of God is very non-specific. I
believe there is a God...and that God may be a neutral energetic force
of creation, or a loving energy, or a potentially personal God, or
I believe in afterlife, that science is the study of creation and is
therefore true theology, that scriptures are highly questionable but
Some meandering thoughts anyway. I'm sure I'm leaving a lot still
muddled, but this is God we're discussing, after all.