So to begin: there is the religion I know about, and participate in. Here are a couple snippets from last week's service...
One. We began group prayer with the words, "God of many names, or of no name...".
Two. The sermon was about salvation, and it began with a reflection that in this church, salvation does not mean accepting anyone, including Jesus, as a savior. Instead we reflected on the question, "What is saving your life right now?"
And what has saved your life in the past? A friend, a lover, a lucky break, a well-timed joke, a job offer, a snowstorm that meant you could stay home for one blessed day when you needed it? And if we've been saved, often and unexpectedly and over and over again, is it possible that on a given day, we might be someone else's salvation - for that single day, of course, not for life. Or is it possible that once in while, we save ourselves through diligence, good works, forgiveness of our own mistakes?
And is it even further possible that we might be saved from the roles we play, and the masks we wear, and thus that a saved life is one where we live authentically, where we live exactly as we are, where we get to BE who we are and meant to be and DO what we know we were put here to do... saved from fear and faking and pain.
And then to end: there is the religion I read about in the news. My good ol' Top Ten New York Times iPhone App strikes again with these two gems today:
Pastor Says He Is Sorry for Role in Newtown Service
Rob Morris, a Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., violated a denominational rule when he took part in an interfaith prayer service after the Sandy Hook massacre.
Bishops Reject Contraceptive Proposal
The nation's Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the latest White House proposal on health insurance coverage of contraceptives, saying it did not offer enough safeguards for religious hospitals, colleges and charities that objected to providing such coverage for their employees.
So please pardon me if I find mainstream religion completely out-of-touch with the life I lead, the spiritual and religious life I pursue. And frankly, laughable right now. Who are these people? Who do they think they'll appeal to in the next three, five, fifteen years? Maybe I would laugh a little less and understand a little more if I could worship with them to a god of no name, and strive together to love both ourselves and others, as we/they are. But these headlines tonight make me feel silly about even pursuing such noble goals and dejected about any possible collaborative progress.