Monday, April 23, 2012

An apology for the prior post

Well, I'm having technical difficulty with my blog. I can't ever log in! The system does not recognize the password, and I have to constantly reset it to get here. I know I'm doing something wrong, but don't know what.

I want to make an apology, in the old-fashioned sense of a defense or explanation, for the previous blog post. Let's see here ... while I am a deeply spiritual person and I feel a close, personal and life-saving relationship with my own personal divinity, I am not a particularly religious person. I don't feel bound by the traditions or customs of any particular style of worship, though I do identify myself as a United Methodist and I am a member of the United Methodist Church. I realize that my savior is not your savior. He/she can't be! Even if we both said we were Christians, our relationship with God and Christ is as individual as a fingerprint and simply can't be duplicated. Hence the saying, "God has no grandchildren." Each of us is God's children, and can't transfer that relationship, even to our own children, indirectly. Each of us must experience that relationship (or not) by ourselves, though it often is sparked through the loving action of others.

I believe that God is quite a bit more comfortable with diversity than most people are. Most people want to hang around others of our own type, who think the way we do and hold most of the same beliefs. I've always rebelled against that notion. Of course, I have my own unconscious or semi-conscious biases, a whole bunch of them! I am human, too. But I know that God loves -- adores -- great variety. Look around! There isn't just one type of anything. There's a great abundance of plants and animals, and the same variety holds true for people as well, even as we become more global and more aware of our human commonalities.

Therefore, I delight -- as I truly know that God does -- in the variety of religious traditions that humans have devised over our time on this planet. I don't denigrate any of them, and I don't rank any as more worthy, including my own -- although I don't profess to understand them all. I detest all religious traditions, including within Christianity, that condone violence of any sort, or that repress freedom of thought.

This is why I can't call myself a Christian. That word has so many negative connotations and much negative baggage attached to it, unfortunately. Perhaps this is largely in my mind, but I don't think so.

It bothers me that some of my dearest friends might have difficulty understanding what I was trying to convey in my previous posting, because it was so clothed in religious language.

I believe that holy scriptures are divinely inspired because they can be interpreted on so many levels, by different people in changing circumstances. I invite you to remove the religious aspects from the Bible verses I have quoted and seek to interpret them from the context of your own world view.

My friend Karen emphasizes that the Bible, particularly the parables and other teachings of Jesus, are laden with paradox. He'll say one thing, then say its opposite. So those who take a quick and easy interpretation are almost certainly missing something important. (Notice that I didn't quite say they were "Wrong!!" though I was tempted to)

When Jesus says, "I will make you fishers of men," what does he mean by that? Does it mean to go out and convert as many people as possible to Christianity?

Let me say that I can't be the final authority of what any scripture passages mean ... just as no one else can! I think that practicing any spiritual or religious tradition leads you down the path toward a much keener interest in every human being you meet. I think that touching upon the divine is also a way of touching into our common humanity, and recognizing that we are all part of one group, no matter how different we are in many ways. So the suffering of others suddenly becomes a personal problem. It's no longer neatly removed and happening to "someone else," "somewhere else" because every person is a part of this one great organism that also includes me. (I personally also include all of the living creation as one organism.)

It takes a lifetime of study to make spiritual progress, I believe, in any tradition. The one you follow is your choice, and I respect that choice and offer it to you! I think it is a choice that you should make, and not put off as I have.

Life calls me back. Oh, for a time I could just write, and write, and write. But life is a good and sweet thing, too.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard it said (there is a famous quote by someone somewhere, which I don't have directly in front of me at this moment), that there is no such thing as a "perfect" religious belief or system, that is why it is called "practice."

    I think anyone that took offence to your last post is breaking the second of Don Miguel Ruiz's wise agreements - don't take anything personally, and also the 3rd - don't make assumptions.

    Everyone assumes that everything is "about" them (I include myself in this). Life gets so much easier when you realize everything is actually "about" everyone else... I'm working on that one.


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