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Friday, June 11, 2010

What Group Are You In?

In groups - out groups - my groups - other groups - right groups - wrong groups. Life is so interesting. It seems for many of us it is important to divide into two or so groups. The one we define ourselves in is the correct one; everyone not in our group is evil and must be converted to our group, or eradicated or at least shut up. It seems that many people think in extremes rather in more complex thoughts. Very few, if any, things can be explained in simple yes or no terms. Deep thinkers are needed to even approach something like the truth.

We see this in the worlds of religion, politics, science, family, and you name a world. There is currently a "religious" group attempting to take over the world and kill everyone not in agreement with them. I wonder how anyone could believe in such a violent god??? How could anyone rationalize away the taking of human lives in the name of a violent religion??? How could anyone actually believe killing is a ticket to heaven??? Can such insanity really be sold so effectively that it is believed???

It may be because I look through the eyes of a Christian, maybe not a traditional one, but very Christian nevertheless. My Christianity takes the teachings of Jesus seriously and as guides for living the kind of life that is in harmony with God & what God had in mind for us when we were created. My Christianity leads me to deep times of communion with God, to moments of inspiration, to the courage to stretch beyond what I ever thought I could do, to conversations with Jesus, to living with the Holy Spirit, etc. My Christianity assures me that God, being Love, urges us, made in His image, to likewise live in as loving and forgiving a manner as possible. Jesus modeled for us, his siblings, a life of listening to God, following God, loving, healing, forgiving and sacrifice. No where did he indicate violence as a pathway to God.

Thinking of God as Creator, & us created by God in the image of God --- we too are creators. Sure, we don't create universes or even a ladybug. But, we do create. I create writings, quilts, garments, paintings & lots of things including my life, & I participated in creating my children. I would not appreciate someone who doesn't like something I created in destroying it. I don't destroy the creations of others that I might not like or understand. From time to time I've stood in museums or art galleries & wondered what on earth inspired the artist to create such a mess & then call it art, but I never considered destroying it. I imagine God is not on the side of those destroying others, who are also His creations. The way to the Heart of God cannot be to harm the very beings God created.

If the violent way is followed, what kind of a world will we end up with? If Jesus' way is followed, what kind of a world would we end up with? Gandhi said something like --- if we follow the eye for an eye way, we end up with the whole world blind. How dumb are we to not understand this?

Yes, I am aware that often in the course of history, Christianity has done very unChristian things. Power and greed led the way. But that does not invalidate following the way laid out before us. Just because others failed, and are failing today, does not mean we should give up. The actual teachings of Jesus seem to not have been tried very consistently. Even now, groups that call themselves Christian point their arrogant fingers at other groups of Christians & denounce them as not Christian - not in the "right" group. In each group, there are people sincerely trying to follow Jesus and there are others doing their own thing. "Organized" religion seems to have a problem getting into the essence of spirituality and instead often succumbs to religiosity.

If we study the actual history of Christianity, we see that from the beginning there were divergent groups. There were those who said limit it to reform of Judaism. There were those who said take it to the world, & by the way forget circumcision as a requirement. There were those who said a person in the right frame of mind can directly know the truth. There were those who said only the leaders can know the truth. There were those that said eating kosher was obviously the way, while others said no way. There were those who said sex was bad & not spiritual & others who said it was God given & therefore good. On and on.

It seems to me that the old saying, the devil is in the details, may be right. While some argue endlessly about the details, they miss the point of love, forgiveness, oneness, actually following the path of Jesus, actually living a spiritual life.

I wonder what our lives and our world could be if we followed in THE Footsteps??? I wonder if it is possible. Maybe earth is a remedial planet for very slow souls.

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