I just received a text from my boyfriend. He is your classic agnostic, nominally Christian British male, but his family are very devout Methodists. He is sitting in church as I type this (texting in a holy place during an Easter Sunday is not something I agree with, and told him so), feeling intensely out of place as people are starting to jump up in the service and speak in tongues. He was just told to be aware of bridges. I can understand his discomfort at being in this service, but I think it shows how radically different out world-view can be sometimes; because if somebody came to me in a trance state and told me that… I’d listen.
He actively takes an interest in my spirituality and asks a whole lot of questions, which I love him for (he even asked to see a ritual last week, but I refused for reasons I wont go into here). As a result, he is fast becoming a lesson to me about how to explain a faith to somebody raised in a radically different world-view with no frame of reference for your practices. He also stands to highlight just how divorced from the mainstream culture’s world-view (if I were to draw a british culture pie chart, he sits squarely in the biggest slice) I have become.
M-‘So is there a god for everything?’
Me- ‘They tend to have spheres of influence’
M- *Points to his food* ‘So what is the god of Jelly?’
Me-‘I don’t think there is a god of jelly, it doesn’t quite work like that’
M-‘Ok so if all your gods are gods of things, where does the Christian god fit? What is he god of to you?’
Me-‘He doesn’t really fit the paradigm, and I try not to concern myself with that because he is not part of my pantheon or the culture it is a part of.’
M-‘…What’s a pantheon?’
Often, the best way I can describe my religion to others, is that it has a lot in common with Hinduism. This is often not helpful because Hinduism is just as alien to many.
The other thing that made me realise how different I am? I was asked to pray in a group of Christians (I was more than happy to oblige. It was all in context) and I, on autopilot; raised my palms to the sky before realising my mistake and clasping them together. And that isn’t half as bad as the time I inadvertently offended a friend by knocking on the floor when referring to his late grandfather (to him this gesture meant I assumed his relative was in hell, haha).