Plenty to Learn…

I’ve had a bit of adventure over the past couple of days in my exchanges with both a Christian and an atheist. Suffice to say it has taught me more about myself than anything else. My struggle has been more along the lines of accepting the loss that Christianity’s frailties exacted on my life. The uber-positive guru groupies might not want to hear anything about loss but that doesn’t change the fact that there is irretrievable loss in many lives. But even in my process of acceptance and healing I find that the loss does afford me a unique treasure through the lessons I’ve learned of value, of the preciousness of every pulse of our lives. And I still have so much to learn. This little nugget from John Spong hit me hard. It’s not that I haven’t realized this truth he expresses before – in terms of how to manage my frustration with narrow-minded Christian thinking. But for whatever reason, it hit more fertile ground in my soul than it has in the past. And it specifically connects with my angst with more ignorant, destructive Christians and encourages me to see things from a different perspective. It doesn’t change the fact that someone’s best experience of the Divine might be so limited and limiting that they actually injure those they have charge of for a season. But it does bathe the angst in a bit of much-needed light, dispersing bitterness in a more balanced perspective… “That person is responding to as much of God as they can experience….” Insert “love” if that’s as far as “god” goes for you, in any case, it’s a beautiful truth Spong expresses here… As someone standing outside of Christianity I still need to hear this from time to time in order to deal with my own reactions to those I experience as toxic.

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4 thoughts on “Plenty to Learn…

  1. I think the problem lies in the defining of ourselves as a specific religion, actually. Why is it that we can’t look upon religion as a man-made grouping of people with set rules for specific people? I struggled with this for years until I went in search of descriptions of the different religious beliefs. It took me a long time to learn the simple truth that there is one being we call God and that He is in all of us no matter where we are on our journey. Sounds simple? It wasn’t. I struggled, too. There will always be differences for man falls short of a voice. We surely would not be here if we knew it all.
    I liked this post, JRuth, and thankyou for posting Spong. My sister was talking about him the other day and now I have met him a little through you. Thank you.

    1. Why indeed. It’s that recognition of Christianity as man-made that enabled me to be more real about my beliefs about God. I can no longer identify with it in the traditional sense. And the sense of connection to God/dess is more palpable than ever.

      I’ve been thrilled to find Spong! Glad you enjoyed… And I so appreciate your articulation here… 🙂

  2. Love it! I, too, struggle with these same issues. I have seen the damage and worked with many people trying to overcome the residuals of narrow minded – though perhaps well intended – leaders, teachers, and peers in their religious communities and traditions of origin. I bear some of those scars myself. When I try to fully comprehend that the red-faced, angry, screaming person may actually believe they are behaving like that to save me from (spiritual) danger I confess that for me there is a disconnect. You berate me to save me? Isn’t that like beating me for my own good?

    1. I experience the same disconnect. But what helps me cope with the personal fallout and get beyond the frustration is that awareness that it’s all they have. And I don’t have to engage in conflict any longer than I choose. The risk in going after the toxic dogma is one of becoming a new brand of “the answer” or a new flavor of fundamentalism. I don’t want that but I do enjoy pointing out the pitfalls of irrational, fear-driven doctrine. This message helps me remember what’s essential where my heart is concerned.

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