Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Me, me, me

“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.”
                              Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

I have wondered why
of late

religions, most of them
but particularly the one that has been my own
have been so unappealing
perhaps even, to a degree repelling

Thinking about it I have decided that it is because religions are
A bit, if not more, selfish

Perhaps a better word is immature

Everything is about power, and comfort and affluence
Believe and be blessed
Believe and be protected
Believe and be safe (from hell, or whatever other torments can be constructed)

Me, me, me

Worse, me, not you.

There are levels to this depravity
God will take care of me, and you (not so bad)
God will take care of me, and I don’t care about you (ugh)
God will take care of me, and if you are my perceived enemy, punish you
God will take care of me, and if I have decided you are not “in”, not only exclude you, but destroy you.

Perhaps this analysis seems harsh,
But it is not a new thought, we see it in the Bible, it is all over the Old Testament
In those passages some people love to haunt

But it is not Christianity
At least not mature faith
Mature faith is about service, and sacrifice,
And working hard so that no one is left behind
No one is excluded

It is about seeing others
It is about giving
Letting go
Reaching out

It is about loving, not the self
but the person in front of you
no matter who they are

mature spirituality is not easy
and I like Paul, will admit
that I am not there
will probably never get there

but like Paul I will press on

meanwhile I will be sorrowful
over those false shepherds who feed the American church
infant formula

and I will ache over
that one who would be King

but is totally unable to achieve even the semblance of love 

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