I have been thinking lately about why our society seems so disjointed and out of sync with itself. It has come to my attention that something is seriously missing. I am going to go back to my religious upbringing for just a moment. In my Sunday School classes we learned that Jesus overturned the money-changers tables in the temple, he also said something along the lines of “for the love of money is the root of all evil”. As I look around our World, I wonder if Jesus words have been lost among those who proclaim to be his followers. Lets explore this deeper, granted I have no intention of quoting any form of the Bible or Jesus, I am simply going to pull from my memory and my understanding. Maybe I missed the point in Sunday School, maybe I am the one that is completely ignorant.
First off, Jesus always preached peace and acceptance. Not judging anyone and accepting everyone. Seems to me that this is probably the disposition of empathy. So to preach about who is going to hell, and how people are living in sin, seems to me, at best to be judgmental and at worst hateful. So if you follow Christ, how can you balance your prejudice against his teaching? Oh that’s right, the old testament was full of angry God destroying the wicked. Hmm, if you really think about this, first off the Bible is mostly written in metaphors, secondly, you are a fallible human. This means, hold on for a moment, sit down, YOU ARE NOT GOD! Oh snap, yes I just went there. You are not in a position to judge what is right or wrong, I know this for a fact. You see I was judgmental and self-righteous for many years. I felt that I was better than those who lived in what I considered a sinful life. The problem was, my life was a mess as well. I had no place and no right to look at how any other person lived. You see, I am not God, either.
The other missing piece in our life is based in our pursuit of material goods. Christ lived a life of poverty. He traveled and lived off the graciousness of others. He was what we see today as a Welfare Queen. Oh snap, yes I just went there. He traveled and he taught, but he did not hold down a real job. He also lived on very little. He was not focused on owning the best donkey or the best clothes. He simply wanted his health and he found happiness in serving others. Wow, what a concept, living on very little and not needing everything you see. What Jesus embodied was empathy and love. He did not hold himself higher than others. He even forgave those who did horrid things to him. We can all just stop seeking revenge and seek peace through forgiveness. By the way Jesus was not a white man. This is a fact, he was of Jewish decent and he was Middle Eastern. So take your racist views and choke on that fact.
Wow, so yeah, I went to church for many years. It took me leaving the church to understand how the Bible should be interpreted. As a member of a church, I was told that by being faithful I would be blessed. I could expect my money problems to be taken care of. I could expect to be rich in this life, if I was faithful. I expected and was gravely disappointed. It took losing everything several times for me to understand letting go. I now embrace life not things. I see our society as pursuing too much material goods to achieve happiness, when happiness is just out of our grasp.
I read an article this weekend about not pursuing your passion as a means of making a living, instead pursue a career you do not hate. I think this is the worst advice I have ever heard. First off, when you lose sight of your passion you lose sight of your happiness. When we talk about making a living, we have a standard that is unsustainable. We have this need for growth, for the sake of growth. This eventually ends in destruction. What we are forgetting is that when we pursue our passions, we must be willing to sacrifice things like comfort and excess.
The things that are missing in our World are passion, compassion and empathy. We have lost sight of our own happiness and we have lost sight of humanity. It saddens me that my generation grew up with Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and Star Trek. All of these sent a message of equality and diversity. Loving our fellow humans is natural, yet we tend to find bitterness and hatred easier to embrace. In a generation growing up with the hippy movement and the idea of free love we have totally pushed those ideas away and embraced consumerism and love of material goods. Once we see these things for what they are, maybe then we can embrace the true concept of being Christlike. Until then your religion is not for me, I will find my own path leading a life so much more in tune with Christ’s ideology than anything I have ever seen in a Church. I really hope one day the light shines brightly enough for all to see, until then I will be content in my passion for a better World.