By Tom Holmes
1-I was born & raised in Forest Park...lived in Lisbon, Portugal from 1969-1980 and moved to Brattleboro Vermont in the Fall of 2011
2-I worked at the Altenheim before moving; I'm in retirement but looking for employment.
4-My Parents were non-practicing folks: my Mom a Baptist, my Dad a Lutheran....no church going at all. The encouragement of a friend of my Mom who attended the Congregational Church at Harvard & Elgin in FP brought me to Bible School briefly when I was 7 or 8; I had no idea what they were talking about as I was ignorant of such teachings. I ended up going to St. Bernadine's as a surrogate pew sitter for my Catholic friends. Latin Mass, the incense and robes fascinated me for several years while my friends hung out across the street at Betty & Bill's after which I was still clueless about religion. Oh, I "knew" about God, Jesus, Mary & Joseph but that was pretty much it. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" and my Grandmothers sang Hymns to me but still no enlightenment....however, I did "believe" in an un-named something...I could feel it somewhere inside me, still do.
5-As an adult and in many conversations with my life partner, Larry I have learned more abut religion/s. I am connected to the Universe somehow and believe in a higher entity....when I pray, I direct my thoughts to "God" because I don't have or have made up a better term and it is familiar to me (I have apologized to God for using his name but not being a true believer in organized religion). I have an ever-increasing prayer list and I'm joyfully embraced by and immersed by intense Faith. I discovered Joel Osteen years ago and try to watch his sermon on Sunday mornings.....he doesn't preach but promotes good will and character. I also watched Reverend Brasier from the Apostolic Church in Chicago for years; it was the choir and obviously strong beliefs that drew me to their broadcasts. I may not agree with another's religion but I respect and recognize Faith when I see it. My next exploration will be into Buddhism and Hindu/Dharmic beliefs
6-As i grew older and interacted with the world I realized that Religion was a major component in life for so many millions...everyone seemed to "believe"; I also came to know of non-believers....I hadn't been aware that there was a choice and had hidden my feelings for fear of reprisals. I had felt like an outcast in the midst of the flock but I came to understand that I had a choice, nay right, to believe as I truly felt.
So I have meandered along the pathway of curiosity, the quest for the Truth and I believe that it is the mystery,miracles and control that binds people to Religion....a safe haven, the comfort of the like-believing members of the flock....the "club". The Bible is a good read, great story of good and evil....a publication I still am ignorant of for the most part, (although I read Psalms to my Mom as she passed into the Hereafter in 2005). Perhaps I'm cherry-picking, self-serving, believing in the Gospel according to Dianne? I think not and I will continue my endeavour into all religions and beliefs.
I could go on and on and with time might change, add/delete some of what I've written. Like so much in our lives, it is a fluid situation, ever-changing....enlightening, not static and written in stone, at least not for me.
Thank you for allowing me to participate in your survey; I'm copying Larry so he can see what you require. I hope he participates.
Sending you wishes of Peace & Blessings....