I’ve mentioned briefly before Jamie & my recent collision with organized religion and how, through the bad, it did bring about great good.
For the two-ish years we attended this particular church, we were heavily invented in it, in all senses of the word; we invested our emotions, our time and our money. As I said in the post linked to above, we are both still giving back financially to… God, Higher Power, what-have-you: to the Divine from which all things come.
Yes, I am spiritual. I do believe in a “higher power”. I have my little conversations with whatever you choose to call it, nearly every day. I find it comforting. I find it worthy. I find, in this world of increasing “me”-ness, that the acknowledgement of some power “greater than” is a centering, humbling practice.
Everyone is different, has different needs, practices, beliefs or lack thereof. It makes me no better, or anyone who doesn’t feel the same way, any worse. Our differences, as my dear Bob Bendorff used to say, are what “makes the phone book”. Homogeneity, monoculture, how boring and soul killing would a world like that be?
So this week, I’m feeling like I want to go to church on Sunday. Not that church. Never going back there. But there’s an Episcopal within walking distance and I’d like to go tomorrow.
Why? I’ve no idea. It’s just a desire that’s cropped up in my gut. I tend not to question these things. I just feel like I want… I don’t know, the experience, the reverential pause, mutually shared.
I like going outside our apartment to look at the sky, the trees, the world. It is my own personal reverential pause. My personal moment to stop and look around me, to see and feel the world. And really, that’s kind of my church, standing in the air, listening to the trees and birds and insects, looking up at the stars… It’s where I find my “calm center”.
I’ve always had a dicey relationship with organized religion. Through the years I’ve read, tried out, experienced a variety of religious permutations: Christianity, Eastern, the old religions. I’ve found all of them somewhat lacking as they are all tainted by the human element. To use a base, somewhat spiritually deficient corollary, it’s like my beautiful, pristinely shiny stainless steel refrigerator, you can’t touch it without leaving a fingerprint. And that fingerprint stands out like a sore thumb.
Organized religion is the attempt to understand the mystical, to put it in a neat box. You can’t.
Well, oops, organized religion is the attempt to control the masses though the use of a big bat called “God”, ‘Allah”, the Maiden, Mother and Crone (admittedly the older earth-based spriritualities are less so, but still, in a coven, there’s a leader and where you have a leader…), what-have-you. Organized religion is about “rules”.
“The Spirit” existed long before man came along and will still be here when we are nothing but a memory. We are unnecessary in the bigger picture. Organized religion tends not to pay that any mind.
And in the end, what are these religions all saying? What is the base from which all the man-made extranea is built? What are the basic rules?
How about: respect and love.
How good is man with those concepts? How good is organized religion with those concepts?
And so, I’m left with this slight feeling of hypocrisy in wanting to go to church tomorrow.
But sometimes, I like the ritual, the community. And sometimes, the Spirit manages to make an appearance despite the man-made constraints. And those times are glorious.
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