My God is my God (Part 1 of 2)
I get it. You have your relationship with God. It’s personal. It’s private. And it’s none of anyone else’s business.
For some, there is no draw to come to worship because the church may strain your relationship with God, which, according to you, is fine as it is. After all, you pray. You talk to God. You go to God for inner guidance. You have reverence for God. You turn to God for the big decisions in your life. You have a Bible. And the church is full of phonies, oddballs, hypocrites and liars. What priest or pastor hasn’t screwed up? You don’t need a perfect attendance card from a church to get to heaven.
You agree that being your own island is not a bad thing. You can argue that, on your own, you even grow in your faith.
Maybe you pray before a meal. Maybe you pray as a whole family. Maybe people like Mother Theresa could—and should—learn from you when it comes to living the gospel, loving your neighbor, and caring for those in need because you do really well at living Christ’s message each day.
Then there are people who practice their faith differently than you do which is fine, as long as they don’t talk with you about it, or, far worse, push it on you.
Or maybe you just don’t want to talk about your faith. Or maybe you’re faithful enough.
Or maybe you’re scared about it. It’s one of those in the back of the closet things. Your faith is there somewhere. You can find it if you need it. But, in the moment, you’re okay, so why mess with how things are going?
Here are more questions. Does religion enhance the world, even with its history of flaws? What would life be like if we didn’t have religion? And here’s my last question. Promise. Can you add to religion?
I think of the grandmother whose grandchildren are living far from her. When she sees kids in church, what happens to her soul?
Honestly, yes, there are curmudgeons out there. She may be one of them. Women and men do snarl.
I relate curmudgeons to old dogs. Literally. I have an old-timer. He sees youth, energy and excitement and holds the expression that he wants nothing to do with that. But when he was a pup? Oh, he loved kids. Just loved them. He was a champion of boys and girls.
Age changes dogs. Age changes people, too.
What hasn’t changed lately is consumerism and the church: it’s not what we bring to church; it’s what we get out of it. Worship is “good” when we “feel good” and there are plenty of other churches around when one stresses, challenges or upsets us. The underlying thought that the church should be as perfect as God is alive and well these days.
I get so much space each week here (which I appreciate). Until next week when this conversation continues, think about that island, your island. Think about your growth.
Think about what you’ve received from others to get that growth. Also, think about what you can give others, and where you give it.
Think about old dogs, too. Maybe you’re one of them. Or maybe it’s time to love one of them.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on November 13, 2019.