Christine D. Beatty on Spirituality

[This was written twelve years ago; it is dire need of editing. Apologies.]

I'm one of those folks who loves spirituality and (at best) tolerates organized religion, depending on what a given church or sect does and says. For instance, the shameless politicking of the Catholic and Mormon Churches during the 2008 Proposition 8 battle here in California makes an excellent argument for stripping politically active churches of their tax-exempt status. Churches like MCC, UCC, UMC and so on do much more good than social harm. More power to them.

I don't need a special building or day to have a relationship with my Creator.

I do not have a huge or complex faith. My faith does not delve into specifics, and I'm dubious of any faith that does. People who attempt to sell you the Ultimate Truth may be well-intentioned, but quite frequently their specific beliefs conflict each other. For instance, the Christian bible describes God as the ultimate Being and then goes on to describe that Being with negative human characteristics of jealousy and vengefulness.

I believe that my Creator is far too great to be described by human conception. No matter how hard we try, we bring in our preconceived notions. I'm faced with the same limitations, so all I can do is to tell the truth as I believe it to be. But I won't try to sell you on anything. To paraphrase the Wachowskis from Matrix Reloaded: my beliefs do not require that everyone believes as I do.

In Twelve Step programs I slowly began to believe in and trust in a Higher Power. For simplicity's sake, I call that Power God or, more properly, Goddess. (In the unlikely condition God has a gender, She is more likely female.) Talk of "God" used to bother me because of all the cultural baggage associated with that word. It brought to mind that whole Heaven/Hell dichotomy and zealots who said I was "damned" if I didn't believe as they did. They sold their god using threats (of "Hell") and bribery ("Heaven" and eternal life).

On one hand I did believe in some kind of God or creative force that put the universe here in the first place: not in the Genesis sense of creation, but on a more universal level instead. In that sense alone, I could believe. But beyond that I hadn't a clue.

For years lingering paranoia dogged me that the Jerry Falwells were right. But mostly I thought there couldn't be any kind of loving God in this fucked-up world, that Christians and other true believers were just as screwed as the rest of us. And as a transsexual woman living in a bigoted world, I felt the most screwed of all.

I began to discard my preconceptions and became more open-minded about spirituality when my mother gave me a fantastic book. Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image got me out of the religious paranoia that held me in thrall for years. Aside from discovering the true origins of the Old Testament, I learned that advanced Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic societies worshipped a peaceful, loving Goddess. Sadly, Goddess worship began to slip away when these societies were conquered by warlike, patriarchal nomads who worshipped an angry god who instilled fear.

In addition, I saw a video on youtube: Zeitgeist that offers a logical explanation of the savior myth as ancient interpretation of astrological events. How sadly ironic if the basis of Christianity and all of the excesses of patriarchal religion were based upon the misinterpretation of prehistoric human mythology. Once I began to realize that Religion is based not in fact but in misinterpreted mythology, I began to lose my fear of God and all those Christian threats.

With my head no longer stuck in fear and punishment, I began to reassess everything with a new attitude. For years I cursed God for making me a transsexual woman, for putting me on this difficult, painful path. (I actually wondered what terrible thing I might have done in a past life to have deserved this.) Now I began to see that there was a blessing to this path: I am learning Life Lessons and gaining emotional strength and growing spiritually from all that I have experienced. I was forced to either grow up or be stuck in the fear, selfpity and resentment that kept me miserable for far too long.

I spent far too long thinking if I passed as a born-female 100% of the time and was glamourmag beautiful and had lots of success and money, then I would be happy. Wrong! I live right next to Hollywood, home of some of the most beautiful yet miserable people on the planet. True happiness and serenity is an inside job. My happiness is not contingent upon me getting what I want when I want it, but for being grateful for all of the many blessings I have in my life.

I am fortunate--if that is the word--to have been an alcoholic and addict, because that disease compelled me into Twelve Step programs where I got a foothold into spirituality. Spiritual growth was the key to freedom from not only chemical slavery but also from the "stinking thinking" that led me into depression, resentment, etc. What I eventually learned was that drugs and alcohol were not my real problem, they were but a symptom of my problem.

I hope this isn't too heavy, but I wanted to summarize the lifelong spiritual awakening I detailed in my memoir Not Your Average American Girl, without you having to read it. It chronicles a journey I just barely survived many times over with both dark and light humor and inspiration. I turned my life around in more ways than I can count. Thanks again for your interest. .

Conversation with a Born-again Christian
I had a wonderful online conversation with a born-again Christian who proved to truly embody Jesus' teachings about love and acceptance. Were it only there were more Christians like this man.

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