So hey, I'm way too anxious too talk to a priest about any of this. If anyone wants to read a post-novella, I have a plethora of convert issues sitting around making it hard to study any more than I am--I made a post asking for books awhile back and other than the actual Bible, I finished most of them. And I'm still interested in converting, I'm just a walking convert issue
Background: my parents are both "raised Catholics" who carried on the guilt of their church over to raising me, but were adamant about hating the actual church once they reached adulthood. I've always been interested in church life and Bible classes but I wasn't allowed to go to do anything as a kid. I was literally raised to think religion was a bunch of BS
, everyone involved in it was a con-artist and the only purpose of churches were to extract money and scare people about hell. Christianity was always equated with low-intellect and selfishness. Needless to say every time I'd been in a church I felt pretty out of place and a little ashamed that I wanted to be a part of it at all.
When I was around 15 and going through my hard-core atheist stage we went on a vacation to Italy, and the Vatican. I kept trying to joke about religion and how much it sucked, but really I ended up overwhelmed with everything I saw and experienced there, and felt like I was going back to my genuine desire to have faith. I re-examined my beliefs when I got back from my trip, tried to figure some things out and got interested in the Catholic church for awhile. I also met a lot of great Christians from varying paths and, contrary to what I'd been raised to think, they were amazing and genuinely kind people. (Around the same time I was breaking free of my parents' negative, cynical environment and finally getting positive. Obviously befriending these people helped a lot.)
However, like many others here I got disillusioned by the Catholic church and Western Christianity in general because of the trying to explain religion through logic thing. To me, it's like trying to explain literature with math. Sure, some of it can correlate, but there's no way you can capture the complete universal essence of an amazing literature piece in mathematical terms--it doesn't make sense, and why bother. I don't care for politics in religion, I think the "updates" of the Catholic and protestant churches get kind of silly, and I don't see how science can disprove anything religious. To me, science in the language of God and I really don't see how it relates to the validity of things. Human spiritual needs never change.
So I get attracted to the Orthodox Church wanting to go back to some kind of source, some purity, the oldest thing possible. I'm terribly attracted to the figure of Christ, the suffering and rebirth, the crossover of a child from the unknowable to the knowable, etc. It's difficult for me to explain, but I don't care of any of it is literally real or not, it means the same to me. That's probably a problem. I feel God strongly, and it moves my writing, but I don't know if it's the way other people feel God. I feel like I know Christ, but I don't think it's the way other people know Christ. Maybe this is a common problem, but it's difficult to talk about.
About me in general: I'm 21, female, student, also working full time as a secretary, a writer (poetry/stories), I was a literal social hermit for a few years in the past and I've had social anxiety forever. I'm treating it now and I just recently (in the past few months) started talking to people who weren't my boyfriend and my brother. The people I've associated in the past have been rather colorful (I was put in a mental hospital for hermiting and made some interesting friends).
I'd like to attend services or talk to a priest but I have extreme anxiety, wondering if I'm looking for the wrong reasons and what not. I don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of and no one else is supportive about my wanting to join, so I don't know if I really am interested for the wrong reasons. This could be my quarter-life crisis trying to sort itself out through faith, which makes me feel selfish. Being raised in a really secular environment it seems like I'd fail if I threw myself out of my paradigm so quickly.
Also I'm super liberal in general even though I'm socially conservative myself. A few other unchanging problems:
- I have an ovary disease (endometriosis) and my doctor says I have to be on birth control for the rest of my life unless I'm actively trying to conceive, which I don't plan on doing because of the risks. I'm terrified of getting pregnant ever because there's a higher risk of it being in my tubes = abortion which I couldn't deal with. Might adopt, but I haven't decided yet. Also, being on birth control makes me literally asexual a lot of the time so I have this semi-fiancee who I don't have a sexual relationship with anymore. We're fine being faithful without sex but I really don't want to lead him on/throw out long-term plans if I can't have sex at all ever. I don't know, this is a really weird situation and I have no idea where this stands faithwise or marriage-wise.
- I'm pro-legal abortion although I'm morally against it. Personal reasons are I don't have a grandma because she died of illegal abortion in the 30's. Basically my grandpa was abusive and in the mob so she didn't want to have another kid by him, got an illegal abortion, died, and my dad doesn't have a mom and we don't have a grandma. I know that confused women in bad situations will choose to get abortions whether they're legal or illegal, ALWAYS have, and I'd rather have them not die and hurt others around them for generations by doing so. I do think abortion is killing and immoral, but that's my stance unfortunately on legality.
- My brother (who is my best friend) is gay. I've pretty much raised him since my parents weren't around much and I know first hand how he's always been. I truly believe it's a genetic and chemical misfiring that shouldn't effect much. Given my reproductive problems I don't put a huge emphasis on the value of being fruitful of multiplying, and I feel like being socially aware and responsible is more important.
- Another problem is I'm relatively physically attractive and really young. Not saying that to be vain, but I don't think I'm a typical convert I'm used to people trying to take advantage of me in situations where I ask for any guidance. Also I'm a female who has no interest in family aspects of the church. I have a view of myself being baptized in church and not coming back so I can study and practice by myself.
So I'm feeling incredibly awkward. Any input at all from anyone would be greatly appreciated, on anything at all.EDIT: Inappropriate word replaced with something a bit tamer -PeterTheAleut