That question is one I don't get asked as often as you might think.
One of my best friends, for instance, has staunchly defended me when I've been targeted as theologically dangerous. Yet she's never actually probed to find out what I believe today.
I told her once, "Please feel free to ask me anything. I don't mind sharing."
She replied, "I like you. I trust you. I don't ask because I don't really want to know. If you share something that I find contradictory to my beliefs, I don't want that to change how I feel about you. I don't know if it would. So I figure it doesn't really matter if I know."
I appreciated that point of view, actually. Mature and kind. And the truth is, my changed beliefs do impact my friendships adversely sometimes.
Still on the occasions where I've been asked, I do a profoundly poor (stunningly bad, inadequate, impoverished) job of answering that question. I fumble, mumble, stumble over big words and ideas, and offer something really lame like, "Well, I'm Christian, but not a Christian any more." Whatever that means.
On Monday, my therapist tackled the big question. What do you believe now? Do you have a Higher Power, anything from which to draw strength or help you define your purpose? Timing made sense. I was crying over things I can't change, won't change and what those patterns have cost me... maybe for good.
She flipped through her notes.
"You were an ardent Christian at one point in time. But you say now that you aren't. How is that for you? What is your spiritual life like now?"
She laughed. "I didn't ask you about religion."
Oh for the love of Schleiermacher! Hello. I tap-danced, sandwich-boarded, and Four-lawed that script: Knowing God is about personal relationship, not religion. Faith is about spirituality not religious practice.
But I knew she was broadening the search. What about Buddhism?
Ack! Sorry. Can't get into it. Something about saffron yellow robes and vegetarianism. When I read Buddhist writings, it's that hard-working place of foreign language learning all over again. Nothing familiar, strange accent, translation required. No peace.
Yoga works for me because it's the body not the mind, not even the spirit (though my yoga instructor might say otherwise). I just yield to it and stop processing. The readings are grounded in the real, not the virtual. I can do that.
Weirdly, I do attend church. Started up a couple of months ago. Downtown, inner city black church. I don't blog about it because it's not a project, it's a place for me to be in community. I do love it.
But the bottom line is, I don't have beliefs, I don't have relationship (with God), I don't have spiritual practices. And I don't want them.
For years Jesus stood in the gap when pain mounted, when I couldn't get the love I craved the way I craved it. I worshiped, sang, prayed my heart out, wrote thousands of pages of prayers and love notes, studied the Bible like my life depended on it (and in some very real ways it did). But the bottom dropped out.
I'm not in a search for meaning, for guidance, for principles, for tangible support outside myself (and I mean that humbly... I'm not relying on myself either; I'm bobbing along like a cork on the vast sea of life, letting life itself, and all of my interconnections developed over a lifetime, support me).
My mother prays for me.
My church prays and I hold the hands of the ladies in hats who sit by me and pray with them.
I find myself praying at the oddest moments... in the shower, sometimes in the dark at night, often in the supermarket when I'm alone. I usually laugh while I pray because I don't believe in what I'm praying or saying. It's reflexive. And comforting. And habit.
And is a waste of time.
God from below is like that. It's not a head thing. Not even really a heart thing for me. It's more like dirt. Soil, out of which I grow.