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Losing My Religion – A Journey of Rediscovery

As my children grow into teenagers, I’m enjoying hearing their latest music choices in the car on whatever journey we are taking on any given day. As much as I love to listen to the radio or podcasts, I’m always interested to hear what music they are enjoying and relating to at that moment. 

What has surprised me is the number of ‘old’ songs they are discovering and equally how surprised they are when I start singing along enthusiastically, only to be asked, “Do you know this song?” When I tell them that the song was from my era, they are excited to know more. It has definitely sparked endless discussion and I find myself not feeling so ‘old’ anymore. 

Recently, they discovered the song, ‘Losing My Religion’ by R.E.M, which brought back many memories. I hadn’t really thought about the words before, and it got me thinking of the bigger picture:

“Oh life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me…”
Songwriters: Peter Lawrence Buck/ Michael E. Mills/ William Berry/ Michael J. Stipe (R.E.M)

Life is definitely bigger than all of us and my teenagers and I have been talking and engaging in discussion about religion recently on our car journeys. I wonder if most teenagers go through a stage of questioning religion, religious institutions, the existence of God, their place in the universe etc. as they go on their own journey of discovery into who they are and what their purpose is in the world. I have had to deal with many questions of ‘Why do we believe in God?’ or ‘Is God real?’ or ‘Why doesn’t God help me?’ I have learned to answer questions by asking another question: ‘Why are you asking?’ or ‘Do you think God is real?’ ‘What does it feel like when he is helping?’ It has been an interesting journey but what their journey of discovery has triggered is my own journey of rediscovery.

We live in East Lothian in Scotland, having moved back here at the beginning of 2020 during the global pandemic. Covid caused us a great deal of upheaval and its effects are still being felt. Since we left South Africa and the warmth of our religious blanket and regular participation in church societies there, we were left a bit in the cold in New Zealand, where we lived for 1 year, and now in Scotland. We have struggled to find our feet and attended church with my mum at her local church, but we’ve all felt we’re missing something. My youngest daughter even at one point felt she was losing her religion and couldn’t see the bigger picture. I explained that it’s okay to feel disconnected, and to question but that in time things will be clearer. 

I have also felt isolated but one positive aspect of Covid was the various live streamed or recorded sermons and services that have now appeared in the New Church sphere which we are able to watch no matter where we live. I love to connect to Westville New Church, which we attended for many years. Following a recent trip to Boulder, Colorado to visit family there, we attended the Boulder New Church and am now inspired to watch their live streamed services each Sunday evening (UK Time). 

The biggest discovery for me is Logopraxis. I was looking for a way to connect with the Word in a more meaningful way and thanks to Erik Buss, who is currently based in the UK, through our discussions, he put me in touch with David Millar and I’ve been participating in the practice for a few months now. I look forward to each week and the work I do in the intervening weeks to prepare for the class and enjoy the interaction and learning from others perspectives and insights in our sessions. The practice has helped me in my relationships with others as I become more mindful of the Lord’s presence in my daily life and interactions with others and even with myself and my inner life. 

It has been a real journey of rediscovery for me and I’m definitely not losing my religion but finding my religion and growing my connection to the Lord and the beautiful world he has created. It has meant our religious discussions are more fruitful, interesting, and our discussions even inspired my two eldest teenagers to attend BASS summer camp recently. Although it was tough at first, they came home reinspired, reconnected, and fulfilled from their connection with other like-minded teenagers and warmed by the support and wisdom of those who facilitated the camp. 

So, the words of the song resonate:

“Oh Life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me…”

Life is bigger than you or me and the Lord’s presence in it gives it meaning. Thankfully, we are not losing our religion but discovering or rediscovering it in ways that resonate and work for each of us in our own ways in our journey to find connection with the Lord. Let’s hope each of our journeys continue to grow our connection and love of the Lord more and more with each passing year. 

Have you ever questioned your faith in the Lord? Have you dealt with children or teenagers questioning their faith? How have you dealt with it? I’d love to hear other’s experiences and journeys of discovery. 


Isn’t it cheering that communal celebrations happen? I suspect that just about everyone, for instance, loves attending weddings. 

People have their own favorite reasons for a party…. England recently celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne! – with all sorts of special events throughout the land. In May we went to lots of studios during Oxfordshire Artweeks, to celebrate the creative skills of artists throughout the county. As I write, we’ve just been to a nearby village festival to watch steamroller printing: large lino-cut images printed by a steamroller engine riding over them! Later this summer, a favorite local music festival will have its ‘Last Hurrah’ after taking place for almost 20 years. There’s New Church Day, with pageants and picnics and presents for children. And American Independence Day – parades, fireworks, more picnics.


Continue reading Celebration!

A Child of God

I admit, I’ve been more consumed by the problems of the world lately than by my efforts to live a useful life. That’s how it goes, isn’t it? When the world starts feeling impossible, we want to try to make a difference, or lean into the scary parts, which can lead to hopelessness, distraction, and/or underestimation of the difference we make in our homes and circles and personal relationships with the Lord. At least that’s how it goes for me. Caught up in rationalizations, zeal, and conversations about what to do about various things, at some point the idea of being a child of God landed in my head. With it came a distressing feeling that I had no idea how to see myself that way. I don’t know if this is a common struggle, or if it has to do with the oldest sibling “I can handle it” mindset I’ve had since I was quite small, but feeling so distant from a childlike safety made me weep.

So, in case someone out there needs to feel a little more held, I want to share a vision of being safe in the arms of the Lord. And for the record, I’m not saying that this safety means we needn’t worry about or do anything. We’re still responsible for our choices, and it’s important that we do the work of this life. But now I’ll focus on the protection, love, and mercy we can trust in as we do that.

A certain sense of trust comes naturally to children, but as adults the feeling of needing to be in control runs deep. It’s painfully obvious yet painfully difficult to remember that even the most unexpected, unplanned, unwelcomed things in our lives don’t veer away from the Lord’s Providence. His Providence continues seamlessly and unwaveringly through the seemingly impossible; through any and every state I find myself in. I can trust in what’s beyond my line of vision. That it’s there, and always was. Even before I realized I needed it to be.

Continue reading A Child of God

Hear Here

Editor’s note: This week’s post was originally published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.

Photo: Stephen Conroy

One of the songs for children that I wrote in my early twenties was about Samuel. The little boy was woken in the night by a voice calling his name. Assuming that it was the high priest Eli, Samuel ran into the next room to find him. But Eli assured him that he did not call, and to go back to bed. Three times Samuel hurried in before Eli realized that it had been the voice of God.

I recall a time that the minister described the disparity between what our heart hears, represented by Samuel, and what Eli knows, who is like our understanding. Samuel was a small boy. Eli was a judge. An inner voice can beckon us with innocence, trust, forgiveness, even while such a response is not easily justified.

An example he used was to speak a word in the Zimbabwe tongue. No one knew it, yet he used simple gestures to embellish it, and by the fourth time we guessed that it meant woman.  

The messages we receive from prayer can be confusing. Incomplete. We may be at a loss to explain our own response. But perhaps explanation is not the pinnacle of spiritual life. Is a spray of water droplets more beautiful if we narrate their fall?

There was a time when John and I were facing an enormous challenge. We each processed in our own ways, unable to really support one another because we were both unsteady. One day I asked him point blank. 

“What do you think???”

He paused as only an Odhner can. 

“I am trying not to think.”

I was stunned. And yet years later, it fits like a well worn shoe you lost under the bed last summer, and never quite gave up on finding. There are times when our answers do not come packaged in syllables.