Breaking Up With God: A Love Story
It takes incredible courage and strength to think beyond what you have been taught. To question everything that you think you know is true, and come up with answers that turn your worldview upside down, changing how you live, and who you are.
New ideas about the world and our place in it can be incredibly threatening. I suspect that if we look deeply enough at ourselves, no matter how open-minded we are, or think we are, we would find that there are ideas and beliefs that we hold so tightly that we would struggle to avoid anything which would challenge what we hold dear. Especially when that challenge is guaranteed to turn our lives upside down.
For some, like Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up With God: A Love Story, life doesn’t offer the opportunity to run and hide within our life-long belief systems, even when that would be the easier route to take.
I didn’t expect that I would find so much within Breaking Up With God: A Love Story that would Resonate with me, but I did.
Sarah’s relaxed writing style, almost journal-like, made me feel as though I was having a coffee date with a new acquaintance. Someone I didn’t think that I would share a lot in common with, due to the very different lives we have led. Instead, I was surprised by how much we do have in common, and I began to feel that this is someone whom I would love to know better.
I would imagine that some who are faithful to the religion that they practice, especially Christians, would find Sarah’s touching story to be a sad one with a sad ending.
She broke up with God after all, after spending childhood in the Catholic Church and finding a home and a community within the Episcopalian Church leading her to the study of theology with the intent of becoming a Priest. But, she walked away at the last moment after coming to the difficult conclusion that this wasn’t the right path for her.
So many of us, would have continued, regardless of the path that we’re on out of fear of who we would be if we changed, what others would think, or how we would disappoint those who have supported us. We don’t live in a world that applauds us for quitting, even when that might be the best step to take.
However, not following your heart, is I believe in the end the saddest story of all.
Breaking Up With God is a story of spiritual growth. Finding a place in the world and being at peace.
It is a journey that doesn’t have an end point for any of us, but there are stops along the way that provide a satisfying end to the book, which never means the end of the story.
Even though I am not a Christian, I have for some time now been enjoying the sermons of Reverend Ed Bacon of the All Saints Church in Pasadena, California on Itunes and from the church website.
The All Saints Church message of love for everyone, and it’s inclusiveness combined with the incredible wisdom of its leaders has moved me enough to send shivers down my spine. Knowing that there are large congregations within organized religion that are truly dedicated to peace and love for all regardless of race, sexual orientation or politics, that is committed to creating a better world for all, fills me with hope for the possibility of greater growth for all of us. I will admit, that at first I was a bit jealous of Sarah Sentilles having had the opportunity to attend the church that I so admire.
My own experiences of Julia Cameron’s, The Artists Way further deepened the connection that I felt to this story.
Morning pages, 3 daily pages of free-form long-hand writing have been a part of my life off and on since 1993, and have recently become a part of it again. Learning to become aware of and listen to my own censor, (long ago named Dexter) has done much to expand my creativity, and was the original catalyst for my own spiritual journey.
Sarah’s experience with Julia Cameron and how understanding her Censor lead her to learn to listen better to her own heart touched me, on a very personal level.
Though moving beyond my own chosen organized religion led me to grow towards God, I clearly understand that we all have our own path to follow.
Sarah’s Sentille’s path lead her away from the God of her childhood, but towards greater compassion and love for the Earth and everything on it. This is I believe, exactly what we are here for. It is what the world needs most and this story shows that there cannot be one right religion, any spiritual path that is better than another. We each have our own, and it is where we end up that matters.
I did feel a tinge of disappointment, that struggling with her faith led Sarah Sentilles to give up her relationship with God, but at the same time, I’m not sure that she really did that at all.
“After I say I’m not Christian, some people ask, But you still believer in God, right? The truthful answer is I don’t know. Sometimes I imagine the God I broke up with laughing at me, a mean laugh, belittling. You’ll see, I hear him say. You’ll see. Other times I imagine him waiting patiently for me to figure out he’s the one, arms folded on his chest, head cocked to one side, giving me space to find my own way, wanting the best for me, no matter what that might mean for us.”
“…giving me space to find my own way, wanting the best for me, no matter what that might mean for us…”
I am beginning to realize that each book that I am invited to review for TLC book tours is an important stepping stone in my own journey for which I am very grateful.
I am also grateful to Sarah Sentilles for this thoroughly enjoyable and touching memoir which I highly recommend to anyone who considers themselves to be a “seeker”.