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Changing the world
one mind at a time
Sermon on the Keyboard 
6th-Nov-2008 11:24 pm
abstinence
Bear with me here, I’m trying to reconcile several ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and make them a cohesive whole.

I guess a lot of this comes back to one core concept, religion. Specifically Christianity.

I know I’m rare among my friends in that I remain on fairly good terms with the church I was brought up in, which may just be due to me being raised Presbyterian rather than one of the offshoots of the Baptist movements or straight up Catholicism. I was brought up in a church where we were challenged to question our faith, to argue and discuss concepts; basically I was raised to think as well as feel, and to reach my own conclusions. Admittedly, that isn’t true in every Presbyterian Church, but they’re also one of the few that isn’t about to schism over Order vs. Ardor.

I suppose half of what’s really bugging me is the gross generalizations I keep reading on LiveJournal and the News-Leader, where I see people making assumptions about all Christians or all gays, all conservatives or all liberals…To me, it’s so sad to see us compartmentalize ourselves into so many pockets of “This is my domain, no one else is allowed in.”

I wish we could see the commonalities that connect us all. One of the very basic statements in Wednesday night Logos was “I’m a child of G-d, please treat me that way.” All three Abrahamic faiths hold a creation story that claims we as humans are G-d’s own creation, and pretty much all of the Western Mythos include similar tales of creation by a divine being. While we could spend eternity arguing over whether or not these should be read as literal accounts, the over all point is this. We are all born with a spark of the divine within us, by whatever name we give to the Divine. And that’s why I get pissed off when we start going after the person instead of the idea they’re discussing. I hear you say “Love the sinner, hate the sin” in the same breath with “You’re going to hell because you don’t believe the way I do.”

In truth, any time we read a Holy Book, we interpret what we read through a frame of our own beliefs, the morals we were raised in and now follow ourselves. When we meditate or do seekings, we filter that information into words and feelings we can understand. As much as I’d like to believe in a universal truth, I’m firmly convinced that each of us is a religion unto ourselves, disproving Milton’s statement about “No Man is an island”.

I could bring up the doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer; paraphrased, it states that what you read from the bible FOR YOURSELF is the correct interpretation. I could bring up that I find it odd that the LDS Church got involved in denying marriage rights after they had to change their own views on marriage during the charge to get Utah statehood. I could bring up the silliness of the letters and comments I read where one Christian tells another Christian that the other is not a REAL Christian because they don’t subscribe to the same basic dogma. But I won’t because I don’t want to judge people I’ve never met based on anonymous comments on a message board, or blanket statements from a national body that doesn’t really speak for all members of the organization. We’d do best to take each other as individuals, Children of G-d, Children of Zeus and Hera, Osirus and Isis, hell, even children of Vishnu and Shiva.

I suppose what I’m really trying to express here is that forcing your belief onto someone else is to disregard their spark of the Divine. Not all non-Christians are evil and damned, nor are all Christians drooling mouth breathers. I know so many good people from all different faith experiences who live their faith and show by example what it means to be a child of G-d without the need to condemn others for their relationship with the Divine. Because all to often condemnation from either side on the other is not from love, but a way to elevate one’s self over someone different who one doesn’t understand. Perhaps if we realized that the greatest thing we can do is love everyone the way they are rather than the way we want them to be, we can actually break out of the divisions that separate us.

But then, maybe I just have a set of rose colored glasses on.
Comments 
7th-Nov-2008 05:55 am (UTC)
I agree completely, and actually recently preached a sermon, in part, about this subject. However I understand the frustration. The hatred spewing out of many evangelicals since the election and the LDS participation in Prop 8 have me at the end of my rope. I am beginning to feel an anger towards them I never expected to feel in my life.

That said, there are many, many, many Christians of all traditions who inspire me and offer great things to the world. I just wish those Christians will tell the other ones to shut the hell up more often.
7th-Nov-2008 06:01 am (UTC)
There was something John Stewart said 4 years ago that sticks with me. "The reason us Moderates don't smack down the extremists on boths sides more often is that we're too busy working and going on with our lives." Or something to that effect.

It remains true. It's hard to speak up and denounce idiocy when you're busy concentrating on the important things, not the rhetoric coming out of the speakers.

And what I'm trying very hard to bear in mind with the LDS is how many came out against the church on Prop 8. And how the national church doesn't speak for all its members anymore than BSA's national council speaks for everyone in Scouting, or how a Union board doesn't reflect everyone's views that they work for.

We're all human and unique.

Edited at 2008-11-07 06:01 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
7th-Nov-2008 06:37 am (UTC)
I really just wish I knew how to fix it.
(Deleted comment)
7th-Nov-2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Well, shunning is a cruel punishment for a lot of the less mainstream denominations out there. I know the JW's are just as guilty of it.

Generally though, while I understand your concern about your brother, I have a feeling that family trumps dogma in this case. Your brother is a hell of a lot more enlightened than some of the drooling mouth breathers out there who jusge without any knowledge of what they're judging.

And in all honesty, I was thinking of both of our mothers when I wrote the paragraph about people who lived the faith and showed their faith by works, and not words. While you may not have agreed with her perception of divinity, I assume it brought her joy, which to me, is what a spiritual practice is meant to do.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Nov-2008 06:08 am (UTC)
I wish for all our sakes there were more people like her in the world.
(Deleted comment)
7th-Nov-2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
1) LOL. That would have ruined the keyboard and probably grossed out everyone.

2) I agree. Although taken as individuals, some of them are actually nice peopl. it's just when you hit the hive mind effect...

3) Very true. I just wish the two concepts weren't getting so entwined.
8th-Nov-2008 12:45 am (UTC)
Well said.
8th-Nov-2008 07:16 am (UTC)
Thank you:)
8th-Nov-2008 04:34 am (UTC)
I think I'm in love. Seriously though, I like the way you think. You can preach in my direction any time.
8th-Nov-2008 07:12 am (UTC)
The funny part is everyone thought I'd be either in or graduated from seminary by this point in my life. As you can see, I proved them wrong.
8th-Nov-2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
That's ok. To each their own, right? I will say you'd make a wonderful minister, and I'm very picky.
9th-Nov-2008 07:05 am (UTC)
Actually, I'd be pretty bad. I have no memory for chapter and verse, and people tend to get annoyed when I reference "You know the story? the one Jesus told?"

Edited at 2008-11-09 07:05 am (UTC)
9th-Nov-2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
You don't have to remember chapter and verse, that's what notes are for ;). Besides, annoying people can be fun!
13th-Nov-2008 02:06 am (UTC)
ishte sent me the link to this. Bravo.
13th-Nov-2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you:)

i just wish I could quit re-writing it in my head.
13th-Nov-2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
Never happen. *laughs*
13th-Nov-2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
I know. Makes me feel a bit like George Lucas redoing the Original trilogy.
14th-Nov-2008 01:52 am (UTC)
HEE. And he shoulda just left it alone! *laugh*
14th-Nov-2008 05:18 am (UTC)
I know. I keep that in mind when it comes time to revise much of anything.

I keep thinking "Ewok Dance" and "Doughnut Death Star Boom!"
14th-Nov-2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
Sad to say, I've never seen the revisioned editions. Or maybe I'm lucky; I don't have certain things etched permanently into my brain.
14th-Nov-2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Well, the Special edition of Empire is probably the best of 'em. Then again, about all he added were a few exterior shots in Cloud City.

The other two...

Well, let's just say while seeing Jabba in Part 4 was cool, the rest of the additions were unnecessary.

Edited at 2008-11-14 06:02 pm (UTC)
15th-Nov-2008 12:01 am (UTC)
HAHAHAHA to the icon.

I know I'll see the revised series one of these days, if I can ever get over watching the movies repeatedly with my then husband.
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