Sometimes it Sucks Being Passerby!

There is a saying in the Gospel of Thomas that says, "Be Passerby".  This brings to mind another saying I heard that we are not called to build a house on the bridge of life but rather to pass through it.  I find my spirituality is a lot like that.  There are certain core things that consistently resonate within me:  meditation, contemplation, works of compassion and justice and that of the sacred in all people and things.  But sometimes it sucks to not really fit within any one camp of religions.  Being an outsider and not being able to set up one's tent is very uncomfortable to me.

I love the Gospel of Thomas but due to my UPG (unverified person gnosis) with nature last year, it is simply not enough.  I don't fit within a church nor a church mindset. (Not for a lack of trying in many different settings)  There is a lot to appreciate there but my theology does not really fit any known church to encourage me to join that local community.  I cannot affirm God as only this or only that.  Jesus is a great teacher but so is Krishna or Gandhi or Starhawk!  I find the Bible has many great teachings - and many I find utterly repugnant.

I am just as comfortable talking about God, and God as Father (or Mother!) or even impersonal-the Divine, the Sacred, the Universe...or even more radically the gods.  My spirituality is utterly embodied with yoga and qigong are a part of my practice.  So is contemplative prayer and passage meditation. I can sing to the divine with the best of bhaktis.  I am even finding working out and cooking being utterly spiritual acts!  (How many others am I unaware of)

So with this list above, I can effectively mark orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Islam off the list.  The Eastern Religions don't fit either, as I do not believe in enlightenment or that anyone can "arrive."  I have faced the abuse from the guru system, and much of the cultural baggage that is not easily separated from much of the Eastern faith traditions.  So Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism are off the list.

My spirituality is strongly rooted in social justice and nature.  I work with inner city kids.  Their pains and hurts break my heart.  I tried my hand at building a community garden (I do not have a green thumb sadly!).  I do believe that all of life is alive.  I am as comfortable praying to nature and leaving offerings to a tree or well as praying in a mosque or church.  All of these are beautiful and powerful experiences.  However, I am not a Wiccan with its heterosexual model of God and Goddess.  The tools of it do not resonate with me (athame, wand etc.)  Also while visiting quite a few festivals, sadly much of what I have found (though I know this is by no means all) is either fluff-bunnies rejecting history and/or science with an anything goes attitude along with a strong hatred of anything that seems remotely religious in a traditional sense (prayer, spiritual direction, God). I have to admit an aversion to the title Pagan simply as that could be a huge problem at my job.

I have described myself as an animist and I think in a way this is true.  I see all of nature alive with the sacred.  I see it as no more miraculous that a tree or animal has consciousness than we do.  I believe in life after death.  (due to several family members passing and coming to me in dreams with messages for family that were accurate, and one a total stranger telling me how they died and the date.  I googled and found them.  Too freaky).  As for what happens after death..I have no idea... Heaven/Hell/Reincarnation/Summerland?  Could be any, all, or none of the above.

So here I am in the liminal places.  Any titles for me?  Any religious descriptors or religions that fit this?  I would love to hear your suggestions, ideas, and personal stories!


  1. I wrote about this feeling briefly the other day. The admonition to "become passers-by!" is difficult once you realize The Living Jesus isn't just talking about detachment from mental phenomena.

    We all constantly search for labels, because that's how our minds are taught to function; and, because we search for labels, we rarely see beyond them into the things they really contain.

    If there was a Thomasine Temple near you I would invite you to come hang out with us; it is good to have a community when engaged in a practice like this.

  2. Green Monk, I completely understand what you're saying. A friend asked my religious affiliation the other day. I said, "I'm not mainstream and I'm not pagan. But I'm not a radical." She looked at me like I was nuts. "But are you Christian?!!" "erm... kinda." She laughed, I laughed, and after I told her that I believe in the Big Daddy in the Sky who loves us even when we're horrible and can't even believe in ourselves, she laughed again and left the topic alone.

    When the All tells you jokes in your dreams that have you waking up snort-giggling, you get serenaded in the shower with a song you'd forgotten you loved when you were a teenager, and when you find yourself losing awareness of your surroundings but feel your aiua wandering off for a bit every now and again... you know you're gnostic. Living from moment to moment in complete awareness, this is also a gnostic trait. It is a mindfulness the Buddhists and Dao/Taouists teach but it is overall a gnostic tradition. There really isn't a guidebook for this thing called gnosis. Just road signs. It's a little bit different for everyone since we learn day-by-day. Sometimes it's in leaps and other times it's in very small steps. One thing I have grown to appreciate is just how gentle and kind He is. He's not the big pushy Father who wants to control your every move. If you feel the need for solitude to figure things out on your own then he will move away to give you some space.

    "Gnostic" is just about the only term I've ever been able to agree upon as a label, although there are various layers and sects of gnosticism.

    Look up the Falun Gong in China. They've been oppressed for years and the people of China are finally rising up to protect these peaceful gnostics. Some good does happen with our people from time to time. It's not all oppression like what happened in Languedoc with the Cathars. We'll always be on the Pope's shit list, that kinda goes without saying. But we do have Big Love to help take care of any doubt we have as to the good we do for ourselves and one another. And that's really all we can do.

    And about the family members(and that one stranger) visiting in your dreams? It happens!! It's a real thing. You're not nuts, I promise you! The dead visit us all the time either when they have recently died or they're still lingering out of doubt over what they should do. Most non-sensitive people do indeed have these visitations in their sleep but forget them. You remember them. I remember them. We're not alone. A lot of other people experience this as well.

    I wrote a blog post about this very thing last year when my grandfather died:

    It's kinda long but down at the latter half of it I talk about his visitation. I've had other family members visit but his was the most vivid. I felt him for around three days after he died and then suddenly... he was gone. I felt like I could smile again and I was HAPPY for him! I was genuinely happy for him that he was released and not held in his body any longer. He was so sick and in so much pain. After having such a profound experience when he died going to the funeral was rather anticlimactic.


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