Oct 21, 2019
After learning that I had married a man, a person commented on social media, ‘It’s sad he lost his faith. Now he’s chosen not to keep God’s commandments and given up his salvation.’ Wow. So many inaccurate assumptions. I never lost my faith. I discovered the courage of collateral faith.
Collateral faith is the faith one has when entering the arena to work out their salvation, regardless of culture or organized religion consequences. It’s the courage to challenge the status quo and seek answers beyond the self-proclaimed religious leaders. It’s the seeking, trusting, and experimenting on personal revelation to becoming a better person and drawing closer to God. It’s through collateral faith that we set aside our fear from religion and man and, instead, trust ourselves with God.
Wading Through Dogma
When the courage of collateral faith shows itself, many religious people call it out as being unfaithful. Unfaithful to organized religion? Perhaps. Unfaithful towards God? Never.
It’s the willingness and strength to wade through dogma that teaches different paths are unworthy, selfish or damning. It’s the action of shedding old thought patterns to make room for new ones. And it’s following things that feel Godly.
It’s like being part of a fitness group to lose weight. You attend the classes, study the material, and actively implement your new knowledge. You shed a few pounds but find that you’ve plateaued. You soon realize the ‘fitness’ expert of the group isn’t the expert they claimed to be. So, you let the instructor know you won’t be coming back because you’ve decided to go a different route. Immediately, the fitness instructor gets offended. They call you out as being lazy and say you will gain more fat if you stop the fitness group.
As it turns out, you find a more qualified personal trainer who spends one-on-one time with you. They get to know you and your challenges and create a customized fitness plan. You see more results with the new personal trainer after a few weeks than you did with the fitness group of 6 months.
Proven Principles Over Supposed Doctrines
I’m often asked the question, ‘how do I reconcile my choice of being married to my husband with the Christian faith I was raised in?’ Simply, I put my faith in proven principles and not in supposed doctrines.
The principles of prayer, kindness, service, self-reliance, acting on impressions, taking time to be holy, listening uplifting music and media, keeping my language clean, eating healthy, volunteering my time to help others, showing compassion, developing Godly attributes, all of them have proven to bless my life tremendously. Through those proven principles, I feel God’s direction in my life.
I had to emotionally and spiritually work through the dogma: Because I married a man, I’m not worthy to receive God’s blessings or receive personal revelation. For months I struggled to trust any feelings, emotions or impressions that I had.
Thankfully, that dogma for me, was proven false. It took some good time though. Probably six months, at least, before I realized that my marriage to my husband didn’t distance me from God. It didn’t disqualify me from being close to Him or stop me from receiving promptings to do good. It was wrestling through this realization that things improved. My spirituality, my feelings of worthiness, feelings of peace, all strengthen.
I want to give hope and encouragement. So many good, humble and faithful people have been bruised and scarred with the mantra that obedience to organized religion is the only way to God. The Christian faith I was raised in really does produce some of the best good people. And I owe much of the goodness that is in me to that upbringing. But as a gay man, I had to seek additonal answers and guidance that was not found in my religion. That’s when I discovered the courage for collateral faith.
Three things I try to remember:
- Keep the ‘good parts’ from my religious upbringing
- Practice proven principles for goodness and success
- Exercise the collateral faith and trust the process in personal revelation