“But what’s even more shocking is that, in the name of this entirely inclusive Jewish man, Jesus, we created an exclusionary religion that ended up repeating what he condemned in his lifetime. It is the non-argumentative, contemplative mind that can easily see this.” cac.org
Sometimes I question within my mind the validity of organized religion. It seems that all the dominant religions of the world began with the wisdom of a sage, a mystic, whose teachings revealed nuggets of universal Truth but then morphed through a series of man’s contributions and adjustments into institutions of hypocrisy and intolerance. The foundational message was lost in interpretations. Greed, pride, and self-indulgence contributed to the transformation from a creed of compassion and inclusiveness to a creed of exclusiveness and dogmatic ritual.
But, then I ask, “And who are you, Larry Brown, to pass judgement?”
I could be spot on in my assessment and if I am, it is, nevertheless, beyond my role in this world to critique anybody’s faith walk. I stand behind the verse which tells me that I will know a man’s heart by the fruits of his indwelling spirit. And that’s all I need to know because even then it is my job to merely share the message. I am instructed to be the carrier not the enforcer.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:16
“Enforcer” is a word which goes hand in hand with violence, suppression, and oppression. History tells us that, yes, organized religious institutions have been guilty of persecution and genocide, they have conducted murderous crusades and jihads against those of a differing culture, creed, and race. They have missed the mark of their messenger by a wide margin.
I am also guilty as charged. My interior battle between spirit and self has massacred numerous infidels, it has judged and condemned thousands who held opposing views, it has decimated the non-believers of the world. My mind knows the truth of a loving and compassionate savior but, my heart doesn’t always agree. I can be as hypocritical and judgmental as the notorious Pharisees of Jewish culture because my inherent mode of operation is one of self-preservation, not spiritual progress.
But, I have become acquainted with the one who changes hearts. We have an intimate relationship. The Father has pulled me from the pits of an addictive hell and the only requirement for membership in his family is the willingness to share my experience, strength, and hope, the willingness to extend unconditional love to humanity, and the willingness to be transformed.
“and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2