Twenty years ago, this spot gave witness to a major turning point in my life. It was here I made the decision to tell my wife that I was gay and was leaving. Every day for four months, I would sit on its stone steps and plan, pray, and visualize God holding my wife and me in the palm of His hand. The Cathedral of Saint Philip sits proudly on a grassy knoll overlooking Atlanta’s famous Peachtree Road. I was baptized, and later confirmed at this church, and my oldest brother is buried there.
Despite my rector’s support, I stopped going to church when I left my wife. In self-imposed exile, far away from others’ opinions, I began to take ownership of what I truly believed. No more mom and dad religion. No more Sundays sitting on hard pews reciting words I didn’t understand or couldn’t believe in. Studying the Gnostic gospels, Eastern philosophy, Jungian psychology, the Enneagram, and New Age philosophy, I discovered the god within. I began to see God in nature and in everything and everyone I met.
I saw how love and God work together. By becoming more accepting of myself, I became less judgmental. By becoming less judgmental, I opened my heart, and by opening my heart to others, I became closer to God. If anyone asked, I smugly said I was “spiritual, not religious.” Even so, something felt missing. I missed community, I missed ritual—I missed the church.
Coming Home to the Beginning
I visited a plethora of Christian churches, but in the end I returned to the denomination of my youth. The Episcopal Church felt both familiar and different. Theologians Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Matthew Fox, and others gave me new ways of seeing the Bible, Church, and Christianity. Bible readings, prayers, church music, the cross, communion, and the Trinity took on new meaning and relevance, and now the church is an integral part of my spiritual practice.
When we’re on a spiritual path, we can never know where that road may lead us. In my sixth decade, I’ve returned to the church and it feels as if I’ve come home.
From the editor: Randy Siegel is a fascinating and bestselling author. You can find his interesting books on Amazon’s Randy Siegel Page.
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