“Jesus never asked anyone to form a church, ordain priests, develop elaborate rituals and institutional cultures, and splinter into denominations. His two great requests were that we “love one another as I have loved you” and that we share bread and wine together as an open channel of that interabiding love.”
― Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus
I left the church in 2005 because of an absolutely irreconcilable conflict between the moral code I found in the pages of gospel, and the values I saw being paraded out by the institutional church in America. (Not everyone; not every church, but still far too many).
Ten years later, I am trying to go back to church, and hoping to find people who take the actual example of Jesus seriously by loving one another well. Period. No other agenda.
A lot of my Christian friends talk with me about their feelings of grief over the way the loudest, most extreme “spokespersons” for their faith behave. I feel the same way, which inspires me to sympathize deeply with the sincere practitioners of Islam who must simultaneously watch their faith become so grossly misrepresented by groups of terror-inciting extremists.
So, why does it always happen this way?
It seems to me that the MINUTE the religious institution gets in bed with any branch of the government, we might as well brace ourselves for deep spiritual loss.
The history of the church in this country is complex, and I have no interest in romanticizing it. But there was a time when the church was brand new – just Jesus and his crew – and it was exceedingly good. Compassion and humility were the moral cornerstones of that community, and a belief that “Heaven” could be realized when we are able make peace with ourselves and each other in the *present* moment.
TELL ME, PLEASE: how did we get so far away from that?
The following video is offensive in many ways. I wish it weren’t. I wish it were less satire, and more documentary film. I wish the woman delivering the message could communicate the information in it without having to make fun of some of the people featured in the clip. Samantha Bee may be one of the funniest people on late night TV right now, and I really appreciate a lot of her work. But I also appreciate that her humor is often mean & biting. (I guess we just can’t all be Ellen, the good-person saint of comedy).
Nevertheless, Bee is able to use comedy to expose something fairly underrepresented in the more mainstream media, and grossly underrepresented in church, and I think it’s worth sharing in spite of it’s tone.
You can watch the video by clicking this link: The Religious Right.
I believe that this is why the church has such a negative image in America. This is why people with moral sensibilities about how to treat others who are different than themselves, and how to treat the planet we all inhabit together wind up leaving and loathing the church.
It’s a big deal. We have to confront it. I’m doing my part. Sam Bee did hers, I guess, too.