"Through the Looking Glass" - A re-post
I am posting this because I have ANOTHER post to make soon - and so the journey continues
"Through the Looking Glass"
I saw an interesting ad recently in one of the alternative press runs that Cleveland has to offer. It was one of those box ads on the last page and the advertisement was aimed at people "Who hate church but love God". I found this ad to be a bit disconcerting. (I am glad the person placed the ad and I am not offended by the ad at itself). It simply made me wonder about my own experience. I mean is that why I left the church? Because I hated church? I eventually had to admit it was not the 'church' I hated. It was the image of God that church was trying to 'sell' me.
Church in and of itself was nice. I was nice being able to go socialize with people after mass on Sunday; it was nice to go into a place where they lit candles and burned frankincense, with stained glass windows and organ music.
I left because I could no longer deal with the hypocrisy. I left because the promise was fading and more often than not, I was left feeling empty and sad. I left because I was sick and tired of hearing them ask for money instead of nurturing my budding soul. I left because I did not feel that women were treated with the same respect as men.
I'd like to think that there is a church out there with walls and windows and a roof that acts the way a church should act. Acts as a haven from the world, as a place where we put aside our differences and treat one another with love and respect. As a place where even the poorest of the poor help people in need. A church where people aren't expected to empty their pockets blindly, but willingly - and if they have no money to offer, they offer their services/help instead.
I hope and pray that there is a church out there where 'Christian sensibility' has not been replaced by uptight morality; where all ideas are given credence - and even the young have a say. Where women are allowed to officiate without fear of ostracism. A progressive church that is active in its community without being judgmental. A church where love and honor between consenting adults is not a sin - even if those adults are of the same sex. And if those adults wish to be married in a religious ceremony - I pray for a church that would welcome them.
A priest once told me that God is not bound by the laws of man, nor is he bound by man's words. Now that I am older, I would like to ask that nice man why exactly he thought those laws offered up by his church were the 'only' ones that had to be followed. I tried to be good and listen to the teachings being offered to me, it is just that they did not seem to make sense to me and still do not today. Don't get me wrong, it is not that I expect to have my cake and eat it too. I am not looking for an easy way out of a moral dilemma. I am looking for a well-balanced medium.
Any religious person attending a church, or even a minister would perhaps tell me that man/woman is sinful and that we need a church to enforce God's 'rules'. Perhaps we do. However, I do believe there is a story in the Bible that refers to Jesus treating a common whore with great respect. I am left wondering what would happen if a prostitute wandered into a church on a Sunday morning, dressed, as it were in the uniform of the street. Would she be treated the way Mary Magdalene was treated by Jesus? Or would there be an outcry and the sinner asked to remove herself?
I am not knocking any particular church. If you know of a church out there which fits my wish list, please call me or write to me because I would love to attend. But for now I think I will simply worship at my private altar or around my table with my friends and loved ones and share in the communion we create amongst ourselves. You are welcome to join us if you like. We promise not to brain-wash you or ask you for money. We do promise to make your think - that is if you are up for some thinking. Maybe that is part of the problem here - the general complacency of the population. Perhaps we like our theology spoon fed to us by people who deem themselves 'holy' and righteous.
I know my Catholic ancestors are rolling in their graves, but *I* am happy this way. If however I prove to be wrong in the face of St. Peter at the gates of heaven, well the hopefully the God *they* taught me about won't be holding a grudge.