So I’m a day late, but, hey, better late than never, right? And really, it’s a 30 day writing challenge- that’s a pretty big commitment for anybody, so, really, who didn’t see this coming? I mean, come on. I was bound to drop the ball sooner or later, but, don’t worry, I’ll just pick up right where I left off.
Day 4: Your Views on Religion.
This one’s pretty heavy actually. I cannot speak on all religions, but I can speak on my own personal experience with searching for God, which I believe is the main purpose of religion. I’m actually really glad I didn’t write this post until today because this morning I went to liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral here in Denver, and met a man who is married to a woman who is Roman Catholic. While I did not get the pleasure of meeting his wife, he told me a little about her and mentioned that she used to go to churches of different faiths than hers frequently. What’s more, he said that early on in their relationship, his wife’s mother used to say to her, “You know, God has lots of houses, and we are welcome in every one.” I told him I thought that was beautiful, and now as I think back on that simple statement, I am really in awe of the profound wisdom of those two women. The man’s wife for being willing to humble herself and search God out diverse dwelling places, and her mother, for allowing her that freedom. I marvel at it, also, because my own journey of faith is similar in that, I too, had to do some searching.
I grew up non-denominational, with a heavy charismatic/evangelical lean; went to a Methodist university; worked at a camp with a kind of Baptist slant; and somehow I ended up Orthodox. What I have come to love about the Orthodox faith, is that it welcomes the mystery of God. I think too many churches lose sight of that, even though, growing up, I often heard preachers talk about how we can’t put God in a box and we can’t put limits on God’s love, and God works in mysterious ways. I think that’s odd now because too many individuals involved in organized religions do exactly that. They say God doesn’t love this group of people or that. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in a non-Orthodox church service and been chastised by the worship leader for not worshiping the “right way.” My parents are still dubious of the Orthodox church’s veneration of the Theotokos and the saints.
To sum it all up, religion, like all of humanity, is certainly flawed. At it’s worst, it’s a complete mess; it’s a collection of seriously fucked up people pretending to be perfect and then judging and hating others who don’t want to play their game of make-believe. However, at it’s absolute best, it is a vehicle for broken people to come together and connect to something beyond this life. In doing so, we can learn to live authentically, give generously, explore bravely, and love unconditionally.