Thursday, January 26, 2017

As far as I can tell....

As far as I can tell, religion may just be a crutch.

"The opiate of the people" comes to mind, for example.

And there isn't a lot of verifiable evidence about the "good" religion does. For every Civil Rights Movement driven by Christianity's love, there are half-a-dozen examples of how religion causes nonsense, chaos and conflict.

The Religion of faithful Jews and faithful Muslims in Israel hasn't yet honed out a result that gives life to all. And the religious fervor of that nation--on both sides--could be blamed for much of the decades long violence and struggle.

The dominant 'religion' of almost anywhere can almost always be seen as subjugating and harming the religious minorities. Lord knows that President Trump's attitudes toward Muslims is causing more harm than good.

Need I bring up the Crusades? I think not.

And the social issues in the good old US of A are all driven by so called "Christian values". A woman's right to choose how to manage her body, GLBT rights about everything from marriage to adoption, who businesses can decide not to serve, who should be able to vote or live here, prayer in public schools just touch the surface of what some Christians want to proclaim as 'Christian'.

Maybe religion is a crutch that can be used as a weapon. That's not far off from the Truth.

Yet, as someone who since September 28, soon to be four months, a third of a year, has had to rely on crutches and now a cane, I'm not so fast to judge crutches and canes and such.

I lean on the 'crutch' of compassion, acceptance of the stranger, love for your enemy, openness to what is new and different as the elements of my faith, my 'religion'.

You know, of course, about the word 'religion'. It is from "re"--'again'--and "ligare", which means 'to tie together." The only common English word from the Latin 'ligare' is 'ligament'--and, as one who ruptured and severed my quad muscle in September and still need a cane in January--I know that a 'ligament' ties a muscle to a bone.

Religion means, literally, 'to tie together again'.

But here's where I come down and come down hard: RELIGION is only True, only Holy, only what it is meant to be when it 'ties things together'.

Whenever and wherever 'religion' is used to separate or divide or destroy, it is not true or holy or 'real'.

Let our crutch be this: We will tie together whatever is torn asunder with our faith, our religion.

When we're dividing instead of tying together, that is not 'religion' in any way, shape or form. It is evil and destructive and masquerading  as 'faith' and 'religion'. It is anti-religion that divides and tears apart. Beware of it at your soul's peril.

Religion has been used as a weapon rather than a support for so long that many well-meaning, just, noble and longing for healing people have rejected 'religion'.

We may not be able to bring them back, but we are compelled by God to practice a religion that 'ties together' the wounds of our hearts, our culture, our nation, our world.

To do less imperils our souls as well as our dignity and our purpose as children of God.

The time is now. We are the ones we've been waiting for....(a little bit of Hopi Elder wisdom there....)

Sometimes you need a crutch for a while after something in your body has been 'tied together again'.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.