Tag Archives: Christianity

The Dichotomy of Religion

Making my  way through the labyrinth of differing philosophies is never easy in my family. My children are staunch conservatives in Christianity. I, on the other hand, am definitely a progressive liberal. Communication  can get quite tense as a result.

This was definitely apparent in the past couple weeks with the determination by the United  Methodist church to disavow gay priests and open sex marriage. It is so hard to keep your mind open when you are discussing  heated topics that cut so close to your heart.

I have found this subject to be quite painful to me even though I am not gay myself. But those I love our face this issue, at least some of them. And knowing what wonderful people they are makes for a painful reality.  I do not want to see these people in pain.

In talking to my children, where they see homosexuality is a sin, it is particularly difficult to pause my feelings when listening to their’s. Inside, I rage when I hear them speak.  And I wonder how we can ever get to a place of mutuality.

Knowing I am one day going to live with or near my children makes this particularly disturbing. I wonder how I could ever live with conservativism as a way of life. I have always been of a liberal bent . I disagreed with their father, and now I am disagreeing with them.

How we can possibly make peace with each other in the midst of such a wide disparity gives me pause. We get along so well, and our love for each other  is so deep.  I want nothing but the best for them in this world, but I also want what is best for me. Finding our way to each other and peaceful reconciliation seems impossible.

As humans, we are faced with this dichotomy in life. We want to get along, and do everything we can to try to, but still our inherent natures get in the way.  It is a matter that begs resolution, and I pray for it to be so.

At stake are no less than the Bible and Heaven. My children fear they will not see me there. I am not worried about it. I know I am a Christian and have made my way through the eye of the needle. Except for the nagging question of my liberalism.

Is God a conservative?  Does He/She really care?  Isn’t the goodness of a person what is most relevant?  Or is it Dogma that holds the most sway. I pray that isn’t so. God made our diversity.  It is for us to honor that, in the spirit of consilatory celebration.

In this world of manic opinions and rabid dictates, may we listen to John Lennon and give peace a chance, imagining our way to a mutually receptive viewpoint.

What is Sin?

My mind is aswirl

spinning out of control

what is Sin?

Yes, yes, of course,

murder, mayhem

lying, cheating,

everybody knows that –

but more insidious are

misdemeanors of the soul

Was Paul right

in his definitions?

Was he overstepping,

casting aspersions

on incalcitrant congregations?

What were Jesus’ words?

The God of Love and Forgiveness.

On adultery,  sexuality, prostitution,

go and sin no more

but more often critical of women

letting men off the hook

the female prostitute told

to go and sin no more

but what of the men

lined up at her door?

Sin weaves its way

into the fabric of one’s being

but if all Sin is created equal,

all needing absolution,

what is the bottom line?

We are told to forgive ourselves

and to treat others

as we would ourselves,

then why are people on Death Row?

Why is their Sin unforgivable

when Christ forgave them?

Why is homosexuality

considered a sin in the Church?

Two people loving each other,

treating each other with

kindness, acceptance,

purity of the spirit

holds true no matter

where love lies.

So what is Sin?

And if it is all Forgiven

if one just asks

who are we to condemn?

Casting About

Are you listening?

I haven’t heard

your still, soft voice

within for some time.

Aching for answers

I look for justice, peace, meaning,

casting about,  not knowing

where to turn

where do I go from here?

I know you are there.

I just can not hear you

or feel your presence

nestled in my heart.

Calling for you,

yet knowing it is me

who lacks the ability

to comprehend.

I refute the big decisions

they grate on my nerves,

I can not believe

you would support them.

When is it time to give up?

To accept the inevitable

and draw near to new beginnings,

to give up the fight?

Call to me again.

I will try harder to hear.

Your words are

my salvation.

 

 

 

 

Homosexuality and the United Methodist Church

My soul is screaming

what once was now desecrated

the known ripped bare

shackles embrace me

no reason to soothe

the whirling in my brain

yet this isn’t happening to me

this huge event

that ripped asunder

the fabric of the institution

still, it speaks

to prevailing sentiment

beliefs I stand against

politics I abhor…

what is the Church then?

a voice of welcome no more

it casts out those not tolerated

leaving thousands upon thousands

gasping through their pain

their only recourse

to find a new home

if their faith

hasn’t been stilled

by this reckoning

of injustice

 

 

 

Pollen

Pollen floats down these days of Spring, coating everything, Leaving behind streaks and yellow caking in every crack, on every surface.  Unless, your home is hermetically sealed, coating your furniture.  It’s like a haze in my mind.  Spinning, spinning, self-perpetuating.  I’m getting excited about going to our family cabin in upstate New York in a month.  It is my spiritual center.  I need some centering.  I’m also going to the Methodist Conference in Garden City, Long Island, NY.  this coming week.  I’ve never been.  I’m told it is overwhelming but there is something powerful in being in the midst of hundreds of people acting in the common good and worshipping the Lord.  I could use some of that.

I’ve been working hard for my church, usually scratching my head and wondering what I’m doing but that is the nature of the position I am in.  How do you mentor people who have the guts to get up in front of a congregation and share from their hearts?

My mother used to say “I could do that but nobody asked me”.  Well, I could get up there and say a bunch of words but I’m not sure about whether they would be coming from my heart or my head.  I’m a skeptic and analytic by nature.  I still have too many questions which involve more research and prayer than I’m able or willing to give.

Coming to Christ is an awesome responsibility.  You can’t do it lightly.  It comes with thought, prayer, a willingness to accept the unknown, and the will to devote yourself to a belief system knowing you’ll never understand fully or get right.  It isn’t a college course.  It is reaching inside, grabbing your gut, investing your mind, pulling yourself up, and saying with all your heart, “I believe”.   How many people truly can do that?

My children are avid, deeply believing Christians.  It is woven into the fabric of their lives.  My son-in-law’s large book collection completely involves the study of Christianity.  He is going to the seminary in upcoming months.  However, there isn’t a single book other than those involving Christianity in their entire home.

My collection is diverse…history, archeology, mysteries, fiction, non-fiction, women’s studies, biographies, and, of course, Christianity.  And I’m not that diverse in my reading.  There are no books on the Sciences, Mathematics (God forbid), Politics, World Studies.  Those are covered in National Geographic and Time magazines and what I glean from the internet. I am limited in space but even if I had an entire, huge study, some of those areas would be slight. I think about however sheltered I am, how left-brained,  how lazy my expansion into the world of knowledge is.

How can something that fills my life, leave me so short-sighted?  Will my questions ever abate?  There is so much I need to know, want to know, but, in the end, its all about acceptance. And that is where I fall short.  I want to believe with all my heart.  But the skeptic says But.  It has to do with being comfortable in my skin.  About saying Yes, not Yes But. About relaxing and acknowledging it’s okay to have questions.  That not everything requires complete knowledge.  Acceptance is the key.  I need to find the key.

So I’ll accept the Pollen floating inside my brain with its yellow haze, and content myself with continuing to place one foot in front of the other and hope for the best resolution.

 

 

Palm Sunday

Are my whispering doubts
just the after words,
diluted by time,
of the rabid crowds in
Jerusalem, spurred on by
wrinkled, threatened old priests
perhaps lessened or camouflaged
in time’s passing?

I waved my palm today,
trying to weave a cross
from the dried out grass,
singing of love and adoration
and pain . . .
his, not mine.

Had spouted statistics
of 31 deaths in Egyptian
Coptic Christian Churches,
with many more injured
and felt sadness, mourning,
but not depth of feeling
for the atrocity and its effects

I’m outraged and worn down
simultaneously, by all the
madness and cruelty in our world.
Nightly I pray that the evil ones
doing ordering or following
be so filled with loving kindness
that never again can they do harm
nor for those underneath
to respond back in rage.

What is enough?
Enough for me to do,
enough for the world to bear,
enough for the Trinity to react
as was promised?
Where and when will it end?
Or is it still in it’s infancy?

What’s the Answer?

I’m a Christian, no doubt about it.
Or, shall I say I believe in the Trinity
well . . . the Jesus rising to Heaven
sometimes rocks my boat.
He was definitely God inspired
although I wonder, as a child,
with brothers to contend with
how could he pass through this life
without Sin?

I can’t get through a day it seems
without a damaging thought flitting
through my mind . . .
As someone with Bipolar disease,
Depression and a life of poverty,
it’s hard to rise myself to the standards
set by God Almighty.

And I wonder, was the same God
who was so angry at the Jews
when they swerved from the path,
the same God of the New Testament
who says all I need to do is repent?

So many people in the World
have never heard of God as Christians
claim God – how can they be not saved?
Those who worship loving Gods
and live in kind and compassionate ways –
how can they not be saved?

How can all the people who are traumatized
by life – who are victims in war,
who suffer in all manner of pain,
who love their children and family
and respect with kindness their elders
and those who cross their paths
not be saved?

I am so very tired of the struggle
of men who rage against other religions.
Of those who act in violence and cruelty
against others who live by different principles.
We have been doing so since time immemorial
in the name of our religions and governments.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God –
for I have to believe that God sent many
messengers to nations around the World –
filled the Hearts of everyone,
particularly those who carry on Wars,
with Loving Kindness,
filled to the brim, bursting out their
arms and legs and minds . . .
so they could never again imagine
raising a weapon or hand against another?

Yes, Yes, free choice needs to be considered.
But I’d love to see what such a World
would look like, would have the chance to be.
Where saving the World and each other
became the most important principle
by which to live?
I wonder . . .

Passover Week – Who would I be?

When he rode the donkey into Jerusalem that fateful week,
would I have been one of the palm wavers,
dancing before him, singing psalms of his glory,

Or would I have been the cynical one,
or one too reserved to let loose my inner craving for him
and to bless him for all he had done.

Would I be a pot stirrer, easily swayed by Pilate’s men
to decry him, to rabble the crowds against him.
to cheer as he was whipped and beaten.

Was it foretold I would be Judas, his betrayer?
Would I run and hide as Peter, denying my intimacy to him?
Or refuse to watch as he was tried for crimes unknown.

Would I have been Simon the Cyrene, the man who picked up his cross,
shouldering a burden he was too weak to do all by himself.
Or perhaps faithful Mary Magdalene,  following his footsteps to Golgotha

After the betraying, violence, cruelty I participated in,
would I then grow quiet and cry watching him move in such pain.
Or have cheered for Barabbas, the murderer, to be released rather than the King?

I want to say “Of course I would be faithful!
But as human nature would have it,  I could have been the good Jew
that jeered and plotted and planned, scared of new thoughts and feelings.

Could I have opened my mind enough to accept the New Path,
and act against traditions millennia old, that my ancestors revered?
Could I have the strength of purpose to preach, to spread this new religion?

Or would I have done nothing, nothing at all . . .