"Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams; they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do, they all contain truths." - Muhammad Ali
Modern Day Religion
Many people I meet are sick and tired of religion. It is ALWAYS the same complaint, only communicated in various different ways. They Attend to seek God. The churches promote love and acceptance to win people to Christ, and to many, this holds attractive in today's society of judgement and condemnation. The churches ACTIVELY promote that 'we all are Sinners' to argue that we are all screwed up and in need of the love of Christ to complete our lives.
This is the promise they make. They promote forgiveness, love, and acceptance. The Bible teaches a person to be responsible for how they feel, to 'SHOW' the love, and to no induce fear. It is My Belief that the churches are responsible for the state we are in, the reduction of our political spectrum to Two choices, Two Flavors, if you will, this Flavor is Right and Wrong,
Religion has taught us to focus on Right and Wrong, to the exclusion of reason. They promote fear with 'Believe or Go To Hell' rhetoric to focus the argument on authority. They have argue that we HAVE to listen to the Pastor because HE is in a position of authority that he knows better than everyone else. Such authority is apparently incapable of making mistakes, even though such mistakes are made regularly and are met with shame and condemnation.
We forget pastors are human, and pastors forget they are human. They also react to their emotional state of being with rash judgment quick defensiveness. This is understandable. When you put yourself in the spot light, you become a target. You open yourself to attack and scrutiny from anyone who chooses to bring it. However, Pastors do have a HIGHER responsibility to NOT React rashly, to SHOW Control when interact with people, to NOT be on Autopilot, and to not dehumanize and demean everything and everyone who has a different opinion. They are NOT supposed to be on Autopilot with their Emotions. They are supposed to have God's understanding and the patience of Job and to have so much Faith in God that they can stand up to the punches, no matter how hard they may get.
This is what the Bible teaches, 'Turn the other Cheek.' Do not judge and condemn a person because they do not 'Behave' according to some artificial standard. MANY pastors and upper echelon believers try to address a persons therapeutic needs, usually based on the experiences in their lives. This is good to an extent. This is what God wants; for us to share our struggles so that we can have compassion and the understanding to help a person with their their own struggles. However, they neglect the reality that not all experiences are the same. People are subjective. There is NO one size fits all solution to the Human Condition. If a person is having a problem with their marriage, then the choice is to either go to a pastor. or a marriage counselor. Since most people have marriage difficulties and do not always have the resources to pay or a therapist, they seek what is supposed to be the mature guidance of a pastor.
Granted churches appear to do a pretty decent job with marriage counseling, and they DO have the Experience to council married couples; at least, for the most part. This does not mean they have the expertise to help EVERYONE. They Are NOT Professionals. More to the point, they are not experts, and they do NOT have the life Experiences to Help Everyone. Their 'Frame of Reference' is limited by their own life experiences. This is why they SHOULD encourage people to attend. These should be people that have different opinions and experiences. This would fill up the church with people who can address issues that the pastor does Not have a frame of reference to be able to understand. The pastor does NOT have to feel Bad about NOT always have all of the needed answers. The pastor would be able to rely on the help of good people standing up to help.
Instead, churches shame everyone who has a different opinion, thus discouraging people to share their struggles. It's as if they think that the measure of God is in how 'Perfect' one behaves. They attack anything that scares them thereby denying the opportunity to 'show' the Love that they Preach. Yes, anger is scary, but most people do not know how to act when they are angry. This is because religion has not taught them HOW to be angry. They only see the anger and immediately assume they will be hurt. This is somewhat reasonable because of the Emotionally irresponsible people who turn that anger into violence. Jesus himself got angry at the temple and turned over tables. ANGER is NOT WRONG, and it is irresponsible for a person to care more about how they feel than how another person feel, just because they are scared. One person's anger is not the fault of another person who is not in their head. The only exception is abusers of all kinds.
Were am i going with this? The Repression is REAL, and this is repression in one of its most subtle forms. These churches do not allow people to have feelings. They care more about behavior than Truth, they shame people for having Emotions they want to resolve, and they attack abhorrent emotional behavior because it scares them. Instead of investigating the sources of the behaviour, they focus on repressing the behavior itself. This creates unresolved issues and MORE anger because no one cares to hear what is actually causing all the problems. The person that is overcome by fear makes THEIR own feelings more important than the angry person they are trying help. Anger does not exist by itself. It requires fear, frustration, sadness, guilt, or loss to focus on the energy away from the real cause of these other negative emotions, only making the problem worse. This causes repression, and only highlights an inability communicate ones Emotional state of being. This, further, teaches people to feel shame for being frustrated.
This is VERY DETRIMENTAL to teenagers, to not let them Feel, to not teach them to address their issues, to only focus on how others feel, to not give a care about how they feel. This lends itself to the creation of the Lone Gunman syndrome. To ignore how they feel. or to impose your own feeling upon them, tells them that they have no reason to exist, that nothing they do makes any difference, that no matter how they 'feel,' it does not matter because they are not an adult. As adults, we learn how to handle our emotional state of being; to an extent, however, a great portion of the time, we stumble through life trying to find the best way to communicate our emotional state of being that does not cause harm to others. Some people have learned to do this well, and they have the capability to share with others how to handle their own emotional state of being. These are the ones that are too scared to speak up in church because they get shamed because their solutions do not line up with what the pastor is preaching. They do not line up because the pastor teaches from HIS frame of reference and does NOT understand theirs, and any opinion that contradicts the pastors opinions is seen as the pastor accusing the pastor of being wrong. This is wrong.
Just because you solution works for you, does not mean your solution will work for me. You do not have to feel like you are wrong because your advice does not work for others. You just have to trust that I was listening and will use your advice to help me in the best way that I feel that it can. A person can do everything 'right' and still fail. You do not have to take it personally for failing to solve all of a person's problems. There is only so much one person can do. You are NOT God, you do NOT know everything, and it is okay to admit that you do not know how to help a person. It is perfectly okay to allow others to help where you cannot. This is called being responsible, and more, mature.
It is honorable to get to know your flock and to be able to point people to the right person or persons who can help them with their personal issues. It is NOT your job to help EVERYONE! It is your job as a pastor to equip others to help, not to impose YOUR feelings over others, not to impose your authority over others, but rather, to foster people as they come to terms with their emotional state of being on their own terms. Being overhanded teaches people to ignore how others feel and to impose their own feelings upon them. This is part of what is wrong with America Today, the lack of caring, lack of compassion, and lack of understanding. It creates suppression, violence, and apathy. It creates people who care more about behavior and less about actual people. It create a society of bullies who are more interested in their own feelings than those of others. It encourages punishment for bad behavior and ignores the root causes of the behavior. It encourages the 'Might makes Right' attitude, or that the feelings of those in charge are more important than anyone else's.
This is NOT what Jesus teaches. This is exactly what Jesus preached against. The pharisee's are the ones at the head of the church promoting THEIR opinions instead of God's. The internet is making the argument of authority extinct. No one cares who you are on the internet. Truth does not need to be authorized. Truth should stand on it's own. One person cannot help everyone, but many people can help one person. Without understanding, there can be no compassion, and without Compassion, there can be no love. We can't afford to exist in fear any longer. It is destroying our nation. The only Hero that is going to save us, is ourselves. It will never be some ridiculous clown in a distant political office.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING THE SOCIETY WE LIVE IN!
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING MORE ETHICAL THAN THE SOCIETY WE GREW UP IN!
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU FEEL, NOT THE PRESIDENT.....