Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shining Through

Let me take a break from my boring biography and what might seem to some as my trashing of the R.C. church. I am merely telling my background story which some of you might identify with. Others just might enjoy the reading of a snippet of some other traveler through life and reference matter tagged with a Christian point of view. This is in keeping with the title of the blog.

If you do not like religion, than don’t go to church. Rule number one of fight club is – no – rule number one of cultural Christianity is to understand who you are. That is who you are within.

I have beliefs that I have inherited along the way from my family and my community. Remarkably, the civil culture of America in the last decades has been more secular and commercial. Perhaps my drifting away and not wanting to be an official part of any congregation is a side effect of the secular culture. Perhaps there are too many distractions.

I do not agree with all the official mouthpieces of the Christian faith that I read in papers or see on the telly. Nobody speaks for me. I have my opinions and beliefs. I state and share some of them here with you. If you agree or don’t agree with me does not matter. I am merely sharing my insight with you on some matters. I am not awarding any diplomas.

In this secular world and growing global culture, life is a journey. Sometimes we travel in a group and sometimes we travel alone. Unofficial rule number two is to know where you have been and rule number three is to try and figure out where you are going to.

Is there an afterlife? I believe that there is. Do I believe all the biblical and cultural cliches of the descriptions of that afterlife? Not necessarily. In a way many of my studies of religion and religions and worldwide culture makes me think that there is some obsoleteness in the ways of expression of the old world monotheistic religions that need to be addressed.

The creator would seem to have a plan. In the west here, the power of the individual has grown over time but it has flowered under the umbrella of time within a realm of religion. Do I believe in evolution? I don’t think science should be elevated to where the concept of God used to be. I sure as heck do not want to start a silly sixteenth century religious bloodbath or crusade just because my science loving neighbor doesn’t know how to dot his “i”s or cross the “t”s just like me.

And then of course there is Jesus. Jesus is a man of myth and magic and ironically, the truth is that at the core of all sacred scripture there are many grains and seeds of truth about this man. This is a man whose approach to life and opinions are worth examination. I mention him in the present tense because in so many ways he cannot die. He is alive amongst us. That belief more than any thing else makes me a Christian.

The whole Christian experience through history has been as a group effort. Religion is a set of beliefs and a set of practices. Religions go back to the caveman and before. Times change and so do religions.

I am old fashioned. I occasionally watch electronic Christian preaching but do not feel comfortable with it. There is something missing in the way of sight, smell and touch.

I moved back east almost a decade ago and have not found a congregation that feels the same as one I belonged to out west. At the same time I have reached semi-retirement age. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I know that I am saved and in my everyday living I hope that what is Christian in me shines though to all who deal with me.