In my previous posts, I railed pretty hard against my earliest experiences with church. The Sunday School teachers I talked about were really not bad people, they were trying to do their best. The problem was that they were in over their head when it came to talking about church dogma.
When they stuck to the stuff laid out in the student books they were certainly beneficial. I got a great education in the Bible which when coupled with my love of mythology gave me, at an early age, a decent grasp of literature.
I came away with a strong belief that there was a divine purpose for existence, the knowledge that there was also a higher order of things, and that Jesus was an amazing individual. Yet, I also learned that everybody who claims to be holy isn't really holy.
I was a kid who wanted better answers than I was being given. I don't think that this made me into a bad person, but I thought it did at the time. And the belief that all who question what a preacher tells them is a heretic caused many others to brand me so too. This, in turn, caused me many later problems as I have carried a feeling of unworthiness throughout my life.
You would think parents would be more concerned their children getting real spiritual guidance and not just being filled with the same worn out cliches and phrases that discourage them from thinking for themselves.
I have the same issue with our public schools and largely for the same reasons. Most, if not all, public schools have carefully removed all presence of spiritually from the campus. Successful teachers have to bring it with them. Those who aren't so successful spit out facts that have no inner value. If we are willing to accept this lack of meaning in our schools, how much easier does it become for our churches to ignore it too.
My parents and I were thrust without our knowledge into the Prodigal Son scenario, one of the oldest and most powerful dramas in human history. The son leaves, the son returns and the parents rejoice, so much, in fact, that the other son, the one who stayed behind and obeyed his parent's every wish has to be a little miffed.
The preachers said this can be explained by the fact that the prodigal was once lost and was now saved. There is a bit more to the story. The boy who stayed behind was no different from his dad and mom. He had not grown one iota in the time since his brother left.
The brother who left, however, who questioned the order of things, and who went off and tested his mettle against the wiles of the world, had changed into something more. He was the returning hero, the one who invigorates life so that it doesn't stagnate. It made for some outrageous events, but those events usually chip away at a block of uncarved granite and eliminate many of our most unnecessary thoughts and feelings, they also lead to deeper questions, and a more solid understanding of who we are.
God is the living force behind all creation. He cannot be frozen, or all creation becomes frozen. There is a great book named The Shining Stranger wherein an anonymous author, a true genius, describes this principle using the Second Law of Thermodynamics with the insistence that the everyone should not only be taught this law but also how it applies to their inner development. Strangely enough, it is the also the same message revealed in the Disney movie Frozen.
It is in the Bible too. The snake in the Garden of Eden, had to be placed there by God. My old Sunday School teachers would have said that it was Adam's and Eve's choice that set the stage for the story of human suffering, but always ignored the fact that God created both the garden and the snake, and Eve too. If Eve was easily tempted, it was because God had made her so. Suffering just happens to be the way that we discover the hidden truths embedded deeply in the Jurassic mud of human existence.
In Buddhism, this concept is represented by the tiny dots placed on each of the Yin and Yang symbols. It means that there has to be some chaos or randomness in the equation to create the constant and eternal transformation of all creation.
The ancients told this story in their myths and later, when modern empiricism plucked out the tongues of the bards, the invention of fictional writing picked up the torch and passed down these mythic themes in the guise of novels and plays.
The story is as ancient as the human race. The hero is lacking something and must journey forth to find it, he must overcome monsters- mostly psychic, transform, and then return home to his family and community not only raising himself to a more satisfactory condition but also all of those around him.
In the ancient world, it was people like Perseus, Hercules, Pericles and Socrates, in the modern world it's Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln. Then there's Jesus Christ who arrives on the scene just as all creation is fated to transform from the old to the new.
Science, I should say modern science, is beginning to support the myth as Quantum physics is revealing that the human race is more than just a helpless victim chained to the gears of bone crushing mechanistic universe. The people who first put science together as a discipline knew this and talked about it in their writings. This is before the tedious jackassery ( a friend's word) of Modern science took over. You know the ones who mock the Pope in public while secretly plotting to steal his robes, his ring, and his throne.
Many mouthy morons exist nowadays who offer up their unsolicited opinion that Christianity is outdated and is now doing more harm than good. All I have to say is that truth cannot change. People's understanding of things can and do change for the worse and evil can enter the world via those perceptions. It is also easier to follow the pointing fingers of those who only know that they are in pain and are looking for scapegoats to blame for it is always easier to cast blame than it is to search for truth while suffering.
DNA research is showing that our DNA can be changed for the better which certainly logically indicates that we are supposed to be changing our DNA for the better. How is this any different from what Jesus says in the Parable of the Talents?
It offers up a better explanation for the torments suffered in the lake of fire. The story of Cain and Abel suggests that there are a set of natural laws or truths that come with existence. (And why doesn't the simple fact that we do EXIST resonate more deeply than it does?)
Those who align their existence to fit within these laws will prosper and those who don't will come up lacking. Humans are given the free choice to find and follow those natural laws or not, to match their own vibrations with the fundamental vibrations of all the Cosmos or not. Many people do not understand is that both types of people, those who accept and those who reject, are needed because without this contradiction everything would remain the same forever.
Sunday schools should be teaching that the purpose of existence is first to recognize the human condition, then to become the best versions of ourselves while overcoming the things that oppose this effort, and then transforming ourselves into a unique mixture of the old and the new, the Bride and Groom, so we, individuals with choice, the mustard seeds, can become a part of a creation that constantly renews itself.
Our public schools too must resist the urge to chain our youth to Newton's ghastly machine and instead give them all a pair of wings issued by our knowledge of the quantum universe. Instead of teaching them the primacy of material facts, they must reestablish the language of myth and the spiritual wisdom of our forebearers.
It should be facts plus spiritual insight and not just facts. The overly analytical left brain must be brought back beneath the spiritual dominion of the right brain. The corpus callosum needs to be restored to its natural function of regulating the relationship of the two. Remember the words the Lion shall lie with the Lamb?
And so I say, I don't hate churches. They too have a divinely appointed mission. I just don't like those, and they do exist, who have both contributed to this wrongful perception that Christ and Christians are no longer relevant today and to the false narrative that Christian beliefs do more harm than good. I just want the Churches to walk it as well as they talk it.
I just don't like churches who have preachers and teachers who cast hate upon those who have come short of the glory of God, who think more about the contents of the collection plate than they do about the content of their congregation's souls, or those who can point out the minutest flaws of others while ignoring the dimness of their own reflections.
I like churches whose leaders guide their people toward the understanding that they should always search for the goodness inside of their neighbors and not their flaws, who teach us to seek the truth of God in all creation and who never come anywhere near thinking about casting twelve year olds into eternal lakes of fire.