VERSE OF THE DAY: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
There are some things we all have a view about. Things we have all experienced.
School is one. Our health service is another. Taxes another. And with it politicians local, national and global.
Religion not so much.
Faith wars and religion are all like wallpaper – not really noticed unless I have “experienced” one or both. And then I have an opinion.
I went to school. We all have to. So we all have an opinion based on years of experience. I have been treated by the health service. We all “have to” – either for routine matters and/or immediate emergencies. So we all have an opinion. And as for tax and politics – we start to diverge. We seem to become hunters or the hunted – manipulators or victims. So we develop an opinion based more on that than just “experience”.
And perhaps religion and faith the same … Until we “experience” religion it is simply why we have chocolate at Easter and indigestion at Christmas – both being “good things”. But “experience” religion – and the “victims” become many – tales of the bruised and abused are many – of “all are welcome” NOT.
And in that it is just like school, healthcare and taxes-politics. It is as much what we allowed (or didn’t) that make it the “experience” which forms our own
School is cool but some teachers suck. Healthcare is groovy but some practitioners have lost their humanity. Taxes are well-meaning but some politicians think it their money and not mine – their reward and my obligation.
And religion will always be “religion” – stuck in the past – hoping for a future – confused in the present. Religion is cool and groovy and well-meaning … just full of people who “do religion” for many diverse reasons. Not all of which are of calling, or humanity, or service.
For years I thought I was a victim of “religion”. And then found I wasn’t.
I was a victim of my own desire to side with those who had been bruised and abused. A victim of the ideal of religion rather than the reality. And victims allow. Allow poor teaching. Allow poor healthcare. Allow greedy politicians. Allow bad ministers and preachers and church committees and all the rigmarole of church-life. Just as I allowed.
Easier to walk away and feel “righteous” than to stay and “be guided” (by humanity rather than “god”).
There are good people in the church. And not so good. And those who regard themselves as the hunters. Church is life and life is full of diversity. But “news” always focuses on “bad” – and church “news” is no different in that.
So the church and religious “experience” is lived through headlines and gossip. And – in that – the institution is damned to hell and back.
And wrings its hands as it allows those who prey on others to continue praying on others. Just as happens in schools, in healthcare, in politics, in life.
I used to have high expectations of God-people. But the same was true of school and healthcare and politics. Now I see people.
People who are good. People who are called. People who overflow with humanity. People who have within that same desire to be good as we all have.
And who work in a “system” that evolves inequalities and inhumanities.
Just as all systems evolve those “bad” bits. And when you work in a system that doesn’t really care for you – then holding onto your caring for others is hard.
Just as babies have to be taught all the crap we must teach – so too people who care, who are called and who care. We are taught not to care.
And religion does that – just as every walk of life involving “people” does that.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
I no longer care to defend the religious “system”. No longer desire to prop-up a system with lots of bad bits. But if just one person in that system – just one who has lost (or is losing) their caring-humanity-calling can be reached …
Then why not extend a hand of “faith, hope and love”?
Isn’t that what non-victims do …
In all walks of life.