When I was younger I considered a dating agency approach. I was not a fan of rejection and “asking out” another came with the odds stacked towards rejection. Seemed to me that a dating agency offered a better way. Both sides suffered the same risk of rejection. Except as I never thought myself photogenic, or with a very exciting life, or with much ambition and prospects – compiling a list of all that was a shortcut to the same rejection I feared in the direct approach.
It was me rejecting me. Neither the direct approach or a dating agency had anything to do with how I created my own reality.
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That word “religion”.
It comes with a third party agency we call God. It comes with “forms” on which we list our strengths and weaknesses. It comes with rules about dating, about intimacy, about dress codes, about behaviour … It comes with a whole long list not of who I could be – but of who I must be. All because this distant third party agency called God is the prize. Gain the acceptance of this third party agency called God and everlasting life (with this third party agency called God) is my reward.
And how do I assess my progress? By becoming the outward appearance of this label called “Christian”. A label defined by organised religion and corporate church. A label that has at its heart this distant third party agency called God.
A religion and church which says all must serve God. All must love God. All must sin (even with God). All must be forgiven by God. All must gather. All must love. All must accept that all will not love all because all are born to sin and all are nothing without God so all must believe and all must be saved (in the defined way). And all will then become members who serve and love and sin and are forgiven and gather and love and will not.
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I was born into religion. I grew up with religion. I rejected religion. I found a personal “God”. I found sharing “that God” came up against religion and church. I found my personal “God” got in the way. I chose …
Be an accepted “Christian” or continue my love of my “God”.
It seems to me we each have to make that choice. And it seems to me that “belonging”, that “saving souls”, that being a “Christian” as defined and expected … all “that” inevitably makes God a third party agency. A distant “something”. A distant defined something. Defined and explained by those organised religion has qualified to explain.
And this “distant something” is what “Christians” show the unsaved as the answer to the unsaved’s unhappiness. An unhappiness assumed because without God one must be unhappy and unsaved (and destined for eternal pain and suffering). An unhappiness built into the definition of religion. And a saving from this (assumed) unhappiness being a necessary part of religion – along with the membership of gathering and serving and etc along with it.
It is why I struggle with a creed that I must believe. It is why I struggle with the “biblically correct” definitions of the bible. It is why I struggle with a religion and church that prefers to survive and prosper rather than give its very “life” for others.
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Jesus pissed off the established church in his time. And rebels of church today applaud him as their role model. I don’t see it and I don’t applaud it. Jesus pissed off those same rebels in his time. The established church and the rebels all agreed: Jesus had to go. Neither saw a role model. Both wanted something of their time and place to suit their expectation and age. It’s just what they wanted was different but the same.
I have seen both – been both. But I don’t see either having the role model assumed in their “biblically correct bible”. I am not certain there is – or ever was – a “biblically correct bible”
I found a real and personal friend and acquaintance in the created reality of my imagination. I think that is what “God” is about. I think, as with everything, it is what I choose that is my outcome.
And now my outcome is that I don’t feel saved – I feel loved. I don’t think of myself as a sinner – I am loved. I don’t see exclusions in the bible … I don’t see a third party agency … I don’t see a distant figurehead … I don’t see one way … I don’t see “The Way” any longer.
I do see invitation after invitation. I do see a hand outstretched. I do see something I yearn to become more like. I do see something that I desire to make my own. I do see something that allows you to make your own choices. And I see so much kindness. And I see constant movement and change.
I see a journey from establishment to rebel to something way beyond. To something not in the biblically correct bible (as defined by those qualified to define such things).
Because my beliefs have changed. Living is change and beliefs are living. All of our beliefs change. So how can I repeat the beliefs/creeds created and refined and which have become static?
(unless I choose to be static too)