My Real Life

October 1, 2015

The Faithful

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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So, Francis came to town earlier this week.

Pope Francis, that is.

And, everywhere he went, he was surrounded by “the faithful.”

Throngs of people, hoping for a glimpse, a wave, a touch.

I watched the crowds on tv and couldn’t help but wonder to myself…

Are they all really faithful?


I’ve been very up front about my relationship with organized religion.

To say it is conflicted would be an understatement.

But, as I said, I am up front about it.

I certainly don’t pretend to be one thing while secretly believing something else.

Or believing nothing at all.

I have no idea what I believe, and I’m the first to admit it.

Faith is not something that comes easy to me.

Circumstances throughout my life have taught me some hard lessons, and one of those lessons is, you gotta see it to believe it, and, unfortunately, even then, it’s best not to trust it completely.

So, I’m a hard sell.

I don’t buy the argument that you have to be religious in order to be a good person.

You know the one. It says: if you aren’t working toward an eternal reward, or following an ancient set of rules of behavior, you must not be a good person, because why else would you want to do unto others?

I call B.S. on that one, because I want to be a good person because I think we’ve only got one shot at this thing, and being as kind as you can, as often as you can is the best way to make sure you leave this world a better place than it was when you got here.

But, I digress…


So, I was looking at the crowd, and I was wondering about other crowds.

Crowds in the synagogue on Saturday night or the church on Sunday morning.

How many people who go to church are true believers?


My father’s mother was a believer.

You wanna talk faith?

That woman had it oozing out of her pores.

My father’s father?

I think he might have just been along for the ride.

He dutifully went to church with her, every Sunday.

Heck, he even became the church sexton, and cleaned that place from top to bottom.

But, I’m not sure that he really believed.

I think he was kinda going through the motions…

Doing what he had been told was the right thing to do since he was a child.

And I know he’s not the only one.


I go to church.

I go on Sunday and I sing in the choir and I play the handbells and I enjoy it.

I like the community of church.

I like the sameness of it.

I’m a church traditionalist, I guess you could say.

For a non-maybe-I-don’t-really-know-believer, I was ridiculously upset when they updated our hymnal to make the songs more modern and pc.

I am one of the bloodiest of the bleeding heart liberals, and feminism is my middle name, but I am more than A-OK with singing “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” and just won’t sing it as “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice.”

If I’m honest, though, I don’t feel like I’m necessarily hearing “the Word.”

The message is great, and often stays with me throughout the week, but I have been blessed (or just lucky?) to go to a church that has had many, many years of great writers and speakers from the pulpit.

But, it can’t just be me, right?

There have to be other people out there who are there, but aren’t really “there.”

People who drank the Kool Aid, but are thinking it tastes more like Hi-C?


Someone said to me, once, it’s really brave of you to just be so out there with your doubts.

I disagree.

I kinda feel like my not-knowing is the coward’s way out.

Because the real courage?

The real going out on a limb and hanging by your fingertips?

That’s faith.

Believing in something…really believing in something…way down deep in your soul…that you can’t prove is real.

I just can’t help but wonder if there are way fewer of the brave out there than we all guess, and how many people are just putting on a good show.

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