Jesus betrayed me.
I was baptized by immersion when I was seven. In middle school I invited neighbors and acquaintances to revival meetings. In high school I proclaimed to friends my personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
He betrayed me in an introductory world religions class my first year in college. Turns out, most of the great religions have at least some truth. But that meant that all I had believed was false, because it was not the only truth.
I was disillusioned and set adrift.
My relationship with Jesus was over. I still longed for something, though. So I searched for Being and Goodness among the philosophers.
In the Episcopal Church I found an approach that gave me space, and time, to come to myself. Episcopalians say, “praying shapes believing.” Part of what we mean is that the crucial thing is not the beliefs we profess. It’s the praying itself. Get the praying right. The beliefs will come around.
Episcopalians see the presence of God in the beauty of holiness, so we make worship holy. We seek the Beautiful there — and then we seek the Holy in the faces of all God’s creatures.
I still can’t sing the hymns from my youth without choking up. So I fake those. But there are other beautiful hymns, and many wonderful prayers. Plus, the sermons are shorter and there is less guilt!
And Jesus is taking me back, a Jesus more profound and mysterious than I had imagined.