My mother had a profound impact on my view on religion and spirituality. In this regard, she was my role model. I had the honor to eulogize her at her memorial service. This is how I summed her up on this subject:
“My mother dearly loved her church and its members. She was a deeply spiritual woman, if not a particularly religious one. Her reading, travel and life experiences had forced and encouraged her to reach beyond the confines of traditional religion into a more liberating realm.
She built her own theology based on forgiveness, forbearance, love, kindness, tolerance, respect and compassion. Her religion was not immune from her probing intellect and curiosity. She was never intimidated by doubts but welcomed them.
Her faith was not simply a loose collection of scriptures and creeds that she accepted as a spoon-fed child.
She subjected her religion to research and questioning.
She was buoyed more by hope than by faith.
To her, religion was not a crutch but a ladder.
She was not satisfied picking the low-hanging fruit of her religion. Through hard work and due diligence, she refined her belief system to the point that the sweet and elusive upper fruit came within her reach.
She believed that every individual possessed his or her own personal divinity, and that it was up to that person to discover it, explore it, and to put it to work in their lives."