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March 5, 2014

The Really Hard Part – Part 2

I was driving home with a friend the other day, and we started talking about Church. He was raised Lutheran, was an acolyte, and went through the whole confirmation process. For years they attended a large Mega Church, but lately they started to grow tired of the endless war on morality, and now spend weekends at home, and watch Olsteen to get their uplifting message every week.

I have challenged him before about ‘Why’ they go to church, and pointed out that for the Ancient Faiths, church is about US worshiping God, and for most evangelical it’s about US getting something FROM God..

Big Difference..

That stuck with him, and now his question is why even go anymore? It’s a valid question and I’m glad they are working through it, I would love to warn them about Osteen, but eventually they will figure it out.

But what struck me, was that even in the safe and happy confines of a mega church, the moral wars are starting to take more and more victims and are turning them away from their faith. I see it in the dialog of our elected officials who are more and more becoming the vast right wing conspiracy every time they open their mouths. I’ve been shocked at just how much hate and vitriol is being poured forth in the name of Christianity and morality.

I’ve been highly critical of the Church’s reaction to homosexuality, we have reached a tipping point, where we are beginning to lose the argument and are playing the very role that our detractors are charging us with. It’s especially heinous, when elected officials step in, and let their ignorance and hatred show in how they declare laws. Who in their right mind, would support Arizona’s lawmakers, Brewer did the right thing, but I’m not sure for the right reasons. ¬†On the other hand, a private business should have the right to refuse anyone service, we should not be legislating morality, which is essentially what is happening in our day and age. So those of use who think Civil Unions are fine, and don’t have a real problem with anyone who is LBGT, are left trying to pick up the pieces.

I’ve begun to question the whole take on morality and societal norms. Humans, by and large are drastically unique individually, but tend to be monochromatic when taken in large populations. The church, in it’s war on anything and everything it sees and sinful, has lost the touching grace of our Savior, and has become a scourge that is afflicting mankind. As much as I dislike Dawkin, we are becoming characters in his dissertations against religion, which is a sad statement to be sure.

Last week we finally met with our parish Priest and his wife, it was time, I held out as long as I could but I knew at some point I would have to discuss where I’m at. It was honest, brutal, tearful, and in the long run something that I think I needed. I could not describe my feelings of abandonment without breaking down, the brutality of life, the hopelessness of being human. Their response was gentle, and loving and finally his wife commented that maybe, instead of divine planning, it was simply something physical that took Weston’s life. That forced me to stop and re-consider, I had not put it into those terms, and if she’s right it has deeper impacts philosophically. I can see where a Sovereign God would set the wheels in motion, granting true and utter free will, with both it’s gift, and it’s terrible consequences. Only stepping in when prompted or necessary. Being finite, I cannot fathom the infinite, but it does put things in a different light.

What if free will is the ultimate, terrible prize? How far adrift would any of us let the gift go? that is an interesting question, I need to wrestle with, it certainly doesn’t lesson the loss of a dear friend passing, but it could put it into perspective. Of course there would have to be a mystery element, as I am only clay.

From dirt I am made, incomplete, corrupt and corruptible, in the likeness of an image that I don’t understand, or can’t comprehend, at least in this existence.

Sitting on the shelf above my bed, is a small wooden cross. I bought it years ago in a little Catholic book store, there’s no gold, no silver, no fine craftsmanship to denote it as special. And yet it held deep meaning for many years, and I would wear it over even crosses given to me in my confirmation and illumination. I saw it as a form of a very simple faith, unadorned, unassuming, and utterly devoid of worldly value.

It sits there because I no longer are sure what I am, who I am, or why I believe like I do. It’s a constant reminder that even simple faith can become complicated in the face of tragedy. It will continue to sit there until I either give it away, or once again let it hold the center of my faith.

Only time can answer that question…

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