If you’re certain all your religious views are the exclusively right ones, it’s no longer faith.
The death of certainty is the beginning of faith. Trusting what we do not see—what we cannot know for sure. Believing what we cannot put into exact or sufficient words. Surrendering our desire to be in control to a compassionate yet confusing God–who “is Love”, despite the seeming lack of love all around us. That requires faith.
Being right has never been the goal. Being—simply being alive and in tune with Love, the Life-Giver—that is the goal.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27)
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Why have so many well-meaning religious people—in my culture, Christians—been so obsessed with being on the right side, in the club, having the winning viewpoint? We humans want to control our destinies and we resist faith. We take spiritual breakthroughs and wisdom—even the teachings of Jesus—and we conform them to the patterns of the world religions.
In my language, “Religion” is humanity’s attempt to build favor with God. If I do this, God should bless me. We do that, believe this, participate in this way…and we are the chosen, on the right side of the line.
But we have lost our spirituality. We have lost The Spirit. We have doctrines, dogmas, voting patterns, favorite teachers, and companies that sell us our brand of religious products. But we have little in the way of,
What a mess the religious cultures have continued to become! Jesus challenged his own context and was killed for it. But, alas, the Jesus-followers soon fell into the same trap and built their own precious religious culture. From a band of misfits following an invisible Spirit, the echoing words of Jesus, and a counter-cultural “way” of life, they soon became the government-sanctioned ideology with clout and power. They made Jesus an icon of another religion instead of the hope of the whole world (and creator of the Universe).
Blind guides. So many blind guides. Perpetuating the very religious certainty and exclusivity that Jesus challenged. Making some feel outside of God’s love and acceptance, while the insider club ignorantly believes their self-made thrones are inside “God’s Kingdom”.
What a mess!
But there is still hope.
More and more people are waking up to simple faith. For them, the deconstructing of religious control and divisiveness is the beginning of authentic faith.
It usually starts because of intense pain. Something falls apart in life. The fragile image is tainted. The structure didn’t work. It let us down. It was self-serving and gave us a sense of power…until it betrayed us.
Where was the white-toast-genie-god who was supposed to supply me with material blessings, fortune and fame? Where’s my Christian-American Dream?
The knife of pain gets our attention and slices open the veil between heaven and earth. Between spirituality and human thinking, controlling. We begin, just a little, to wake up to the ever-present access to the God of all things who is both bigger than we can comprehend and more personal than we can imagine.
So, we’re losing our religion. Our grandparents feared the day, but the truth is, it’s a gift from God. To be sure and committed to our rightness is human weakness. To be less certain and humbly alive in the Great mystery—that is divine.
Awake my soul!