I was born and raised Baptist. I lived in a very strict household where laughing was suppressed and intolerance ruled the day. My siblings and I walked on egg shells when Dad was home and Mom just went along to get along.
I don’t have many memories of childhood, but I do remember her mantra of “keep the peace.” After I was old enough to leave home legally, I observed that many parents were nice to their children. They were kind and loving. They happily co-existed. I realized then that I was dealt a bad hand. My parents were different; they were abusers and my siblings and I were the “victims “who felt unworthy of love from any source.
Along the way, I lost my faith in God. I did not want to have a religion. I did not want to be in a group of people who judged everyone and everything that was not like them. I did not want to participate in “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
After the Columbine shootings in Littleton, Colorado in April of 1999 I felt hopeless and distraught. I realized I needed a higher power. A power that I could talk to and that could make me feel better about the world. I started to research God without religion. Was it possible? I didn’t know. But I knew I had to have God, just not the dogma that comes with religion. I started reading books and attending spiritual workshops. And I started seeing references to “A Course in Miracles.” Wayne Dyer consistently referred to The Course in his many books and presentations.
I bought The Course and started reading. When I got to the part where Jesus says, “Equals should not be in awe of one another because awe implies inequality. It is therefore an inappropriate reaction to me. An elder brother is entitled to love because he is a brother, and to devotion if he is devoted. It is only my devotion that entitles me to yours.  I was astonished to learn that Jesus sees me as his equal! That I am worthy of his love and grace! A Course in Miracles resonated with me. This is God without religion!