Cross swinging from a chain? Sitting in church every Sunday? Giving to the church? Teaching Sunday School? What makes a Christian? As if that matters anymore. The world has written us off as elitist, racist, oppressive, unwelcoming, manipulative, money grabbing, ignorant, delusional…the list goes on. When will we realize that inside we are all the same? Mexican, Russian or African; Christian, Muslim or Jew. Or whatever. We all want to be safe, secure and part of a loving community. Maybe we need to do away with religion so we can concentrate on the spiritual. Love is the common bond for all of us.
Gliding along the currents of air,
I’m lifted by the light that shines on me.
Love permeates my being,
Like a spear piercing my side.
The nails are hammered through
My ragged wrists. I cry out,
My God, my God, why?
Have you forsaken me?
The dusk descends and they lower
My cross, loosen my body
And carry me to my tomb.
I stand on a mountaintop.
Throw yourself down!
God’s angels will save you.
Turn these stones into bread.
You are hungry. Go ahead.
Freedom! I am set free by God’s hand.
Risen at last and the tombstone
Is rolled away.
Knowledge sex intertwine exchange
Merely showing off catch cling walk
Togetherness ideas dreams whisper
Calling grown up respect beliefs wait
Yelling expression argument curse
Miles of smiles cramp my style.
I sing because I’m drunk, I say.
Nothing to worry about.
The same old message, coming clean.
The same old, same old everything.
Can you tell I’d rather be there?
Can you see the when and the where?
I care about her much,
All her loved ones and such.
I am just not in synch.
I’m trailing badly. That’s what I think.
If you’ve got a bit of luck,
You can help me get unstuck.
If you think that there is hope
I’ll be gliding down a slope.
I will trust the good God’s keeping.
You won’t catch me if I’m weeping.
I’ll make sure there is a gift.
It’s such a thrill. My face will lift.
We’ll provide a settlement.
Would you like a candy spearmint?
Sharing smothered thoughts,
Restricted feelings abound.
Hesitation rules the imagination,
Hiding from the truth,
Although it tortures me.
Yearning for stability,
Some kind of consistency.
If only I could have it both ways!
It is frustrating when other people expect one to act a certain way based on things such as clothes, job position, education, family background or religion. These things do do not determine a person’s
actions or provide a necessary clue to them. People can purchase and achieve despite their morals or personality. Families should be an easy
one to disregard. You are born into a family against your will. From puberty, you make choices based on your individuality.
What other family members do has nothing to do with you, and is not a
reflection of you. Although religion is usually passed on in families, most religions have a period of trial where the individual makes his or her own choice as to whether that religion is right for him or her. After that, it becomes their religion. But they do not choose all the
other people in their religion or all the other deeds that people of their
religion have done. One should not assume that just because one or even most people of a certain religion do things, every person of that particular religion, denomination or belief will do the same thing. Categorizing and classifying is a survival instinct that is good to use in certain circumstances, such as when one senses physical danger (there must be more evidence than the color of a person’s skin or the language that they speak, for instance), one is shopping in a market, or doing daily tasks that are required by one’s employment. But we tend to
error in a big way when we us these calculations in a social situation. We exclude and judge people based on the littlest things and we put up walls or make expectations towards others because of the same things. It is more peaceful, loving and just to accept people as they are and not expect them to perform in any way based on any personal characteristics or interests. It is better not to put them in a box.
Tried and true,
Follower and leader,
One for the cause,
Always in the mix.
Looking for revelations
Full of faith,
Depending on hope,
Is that all there is?
Carry on Tuesday #111
“Whose responsibility is
It to change the world?
And what will be my
First of all, I don’t think
Anyone is going to
Change the world,
Not really. Obviously,
The world has changed
In some ways, some
People say for the better.
I think we can do more.
I think we can live longer.
But are we more loving?
Do we forgive others more?
Do we have more faith, hope?
No, I don’t think so.
And I don’t think that any
Individual or group is going
To change that. Inside,
We have always been the same,
And we will always be the same.
And I certainly don’t think
Anything I do is going to change that.
And I think it is inside
That really matters.
I don’t think science
Is of everlasting importance.
I don’t think the study of history,
Or sociology, or psychology,
Or math, or English, or
Anything else, is going to
About the world
That really matters,
At least to me.
Well, let me say first off that I do have a long religious background. I was raised in the United Methodist Church in Miami, Florida. The interesting thing is, being raised in this church did not interfere whatsoever in me keeping an open mind and resisting stereotypes and prejudice, as is possibly the case in some places. After all, Miami is a metropolitan city and a virtual melting pot of ethnicities and an international gateway to people from all parts of the world.
Although I was a child, and like a child, I took part in teasing, cruel jokes, and other immaturity typical of children all the way through adolescence and even young adulthood (and some for the rest of their life), I have learned to think for myself on most subjects, simply by intellectualism, reading a wealth and variety of literature, and by meeting a variety of people from all walks of life, all of whom usually dispel any stereotypes I held onto, even if just a little bit in the back of my mind.
I think we all have prejudices and stereotypes. In some ways, it is a survival instinct. We try to separate the “good” from the “bad” and those who are in “our group” from those who are not in “our group”. It gives us a sense of safety and security, even if this sense is mostly a delusion. I think all minorities and groups who are persecuted by society benefit from “circling the wagons”, so to speak, in order to get support from those who are of like minds, hearts, and bodies, and gaining power from being in a group.
Now, I say all this right off because I really think that, although religious groups can do these things, and maybe some of them do, I don’t think they are really any different than any other group in as far as whether or not they are religious. Now that’s not to say that if they are made up of people who are already very prejudiced and stereotypical, that they won’t reflect those traits in their religious group, but the prejudice and stereotypes do not originate from the religion.
Coming from a religious background as I have, I must say I have learned a lot of very good lessons through the church. I’ve learned to care for the hungry, the homeless, disaster victims, those who suffer from the ravages of war, those who are persecuted because of their race, sex, religion, etc. And yes, discrimination does still exist in our world, and in the church, and this problem is mostly due to one thing: reverence for the canon of scripture.
Scripture contains some pretty harsh things said against homosexuals, and even worse, these things have been blown way out of proportion by our culture in America and across the world. Homophobia is rampant everywhere. That is a challenge for today’s society that still must be overcome.
I want to end with the greatest thing that religion, my religion, has taught me. The man, Jesus of Nazareth, was the greatest man that ever lived. Anyone that has any doubts should read the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books will give four different, sometimes overlapping, perspectives on who Jesus was, who he claimed to be, and what he means to Christians. I can tell you in short that Christians believe Jesus to be the Prince of Peace, Holy Lamb of God, Son of God, sitting at the Father’s Right Hand in Power and in Truth. Christians believe that in dying on the Cross in complete innocence, Jesus paid the ultimate price for the sins of the world, thus enabling us all to attain everlasting grace and peace. Salvation is something that is hard to comprehend without faith, but basically it is the attainment of forgiveness for guilt and condemnation that we earn by falling short each and every day of what we could be, what we were born to be, what God created us to be. With salvation and God’s grace and forgiveness, we can come a little closer to becoming his vision for our lives.