I ran across this quote from Richard Rohr about today’s church, “We worshiped Jesus instead of following him on the same path. We made Jesus into a mere religion instead of a journey toward union with God and everything else. This shift made us into a religion of ‘belonging and believing, instead of a religion of transformation’.”
Indeed, it is sad to reflect on the truth of that statement. I began writing this BLOG out of a desire to share some thoughts, inform and encourage the body of faithful people who are part of the community of Hope Church. I want to include in that group anyone who worships with us or who “drops in to read” so that, all would be on a journey together striving to follow a path I believe is laid before us by Jesus. I believe we are followers of the sacred teachings, not believers in Jesus as God, but as the manifestation of God. I strive to express a view that the sacred teachings, regardless of their source will reveal to us the sacred and Holy One we call God.
I believe we should all strive to be less religious and more compassionate, less of a believer and more of a doer, and less worried about defining how we are different and more concerned with building unity. One of the most “sacred” acts in churches today is participating in the sacrament of Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper; but yet it remains, in many congregations, a place of divisiveness. Arguments about trans-substantiation vs. con-substantiation vs. remembrance, and to what end? So we can more clearly define how we are different, or so we can determine which one of us is right so the other must be wrong? Where in that argument are we offered the opportunity to transform lives and become a stronger community? Where in any argument regarding doctrine and creeds and the differences we attest to, are we given the opportunity to broaden the community instead of working to more narrowly define it?
The thoughts I have do not claim to be doggedly researched against prior heretical teaching or thinking. I do not attest to having spent hours in research cross checking the dogma and doctrine of the ancient scholars. I do not even claim to be a scholarly thinker. But in the extremely broad ways of the teachings of Jesus as I understand them, alongside the teachings and writings of Mohammed, Lao Tzu, The Buddha and the indigenous religions of the North American continent, I see a consistency that calls for all of us to be building bridges, not walls; roadways for one another, not roadblocks.
Committees in churches want more members for the sake of the budget, for the comfort some have in seeing fuller pews on Sunday, or for the ease of finding another person to serve on another committee. What we should be focusing on more is feeding people in mind, body, and spirit; quenching the thirst of those who are thirsty for the truth and for good clean water; and clothing people with compassion and justice. ALL religions of the word strive for those basic ends and when we begin to work towards those ends, together, we will be doing the work of Jesus, The Buddha, Mohammed, Lao Tzu and literally hundreds of other great teachers around the world who long for unity, peace, and justice. That, friends, is what I believe Jesus taught and it is what I long to teach the people in the community that is Hope Church.