The question is this: am I a quietly spiritual person, or am I kidding myself?
The context is this:
I was raised Methodist. I was an angsty kid, but I loved church camp. I was a very curious student in my confirmation class. I never went to church in college (except for maybe three times with evangelical friends). After graduation, I found a Methodist church in DC that I liked (i.e., I really liked the pastor), but my attendance came to an abrupt end when a rather unfortunate DC scandal rocked my professional and emotional world, leaving me unable to face pretty much anyone outside a small circle of family and friends. That circle did not include anyone at church.
Fast-forward about two years. An LDS man for whom I was utterly head-over-heels dumped me because he realized after knowing me for a year and dating me for 5 months that the whole non-Mormon thing was an issue. I coped, in part, by reexamining my own beliefs so that I could be sure I was standing my ground on the right principles. I found Methodist church Number Two, where I’ve been extremely happy. I began volunteering, I sang in the band once in awhile.
Fast forward a year. I moved back to Idaho for the summer so that I could study for the bar exam. Although I’m very much a career-driven woman, the feeling of peace and happiness I feel in my home state are hard to put into words. Even now, the night before I fly back to the job I love and friends I adore, I’m a little emotional. I attend church here once in awhile because I enjoy the sermons (seriously, I do), but that pull is noticeably gone.
And now I’m back in DC. My church is still there, but the pull is…mostly gone. I feel very driven to volunteer with the immigrant and homeless communities, but other than going to church to get an hour of spiritual nourishment (I still like the pastor and his sermons), I don’t feel the same excitement I felt even a year ago.
The common thread is this: the happier I am, the less I feel like going to church. And I have been unbelievably happy for the past 6 months. I still care about spirituality; I just care less about being a normal church member.
So to rephrase the question: did I really have the reconnection with God that I thought I did after my emotional spiritual search, or am I using church and/or faith as an emotional crutch?
I already know what Hitchens and Marx would say.