Warning! Religious Musings Ahead!

It’s sad when you feel that any mention of religion has to be caveated. Or maybe it’s indicative of a weakness (one of many) on my part. But anyway, so tomorrow’s Maundy Thursday. My church’s choir is performing Fauré’s Requiem during the service tomorrow night (8 pm, if you’re in the neighborhood).
While we’ve been rehearsing these past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the place of religion in my life. What with the Schiavo disaster bursting out on the airwaves this week, and with this thoughtful post from Sharon still bouncing about inside my besotted head, these thoughts have taken up a lot of processing time, and I can’t say that I’ve come to any ground-breaking answers yet, either.

I suppose Pravda would describe me as “an intensely religious conservative” since I go to church every week. Silly me, I thought that is what one is supposed to do when one belongs to a church, you know, actually go. Well, in fact I’m at church several times each week: for choir practice, for meetings of committees that I’m on; for my daughter’s various bell and choir practices, and for her youth group (“Oh My God! They’re indoctrinating the poor thing!” Damn straight). Hell, when we used to have 2 services on Sunday I went to both as well, as the choir sang at both services. But does that make me a Fundy who loves the smell of brimstone in the morning? While Pravda may be sure, I sure as heck ain’t.
Do I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was sent to earth to redeem mankind from its sin? Yes, I do. Do I believe fervently with my body and soul that the Bible is the literal Word of God that contains the actual answers to all questions and is to be taken literally on all subjects? No, I do not. Do I believe that it was divinely inspired? Yes, I do.
The problem with the Bible, and with all churches for that matter (and all utopian political systems, like, say, communism), is that they are human institutions; and all human institutions, like all humans, are fallen. None of us are anywhere near perfect; we are broken and sinful at our core, and this brokenness permeates all of our activities.The Pope is a wonderful human being who is clearly at times infused with the Holy Spirit, but he is a sinner like you or me. St. Paul wrote beautiful divinely inspired explanations of God’s love, but at other times he sounds like he still has issues with mom. The Catholic Church has done wonders in spreading the faith of Christ and tending to the spiritual and physical needs of His flock, yet at the same time its corpulent bureaucracy has become mired in corruption and secular politics. The Presbyterian church has much the same history, of spiritual highs and earthly lows.
We are all such a mass of contradictions…but I’m ok with that, because that’s part of being human. About the only time I can say that I admired Jimmy Carter was in reading his Playboy interview; the man is being brutally honest folks (and if someone can find a copy of that interview – just the interview, please – I’d appreciate it, because I just spent an hour googling and I can not find a transcript online) in describing his own fallen nature, and I defy anyone to say that they have not lusted like that. Now, mind you, inspite of what Matthew says on the subject I think there’s a whole lot of difference between window shopping and whipping out the credit card to make a purchase, if you know what I mean, but the point is all of us do things that we know are wrong. Does this make us “hypocrits” and “bad” people who have lost all ability to speak out on moral issues? Or does it just mean that we’re human?
My vote is with “human,” and it is this awareness of my own failings that Christianity provides that comforts/chides me and helps me to try and improve who I am. Oh I trip and stumble about often enough, even while sober, but I have the knowledge that there is a path there, that there is a reason beyond me that I may not understand.
Having said that, if anyone ever harms my family I will, flush with the spirit of christian duty, mince them into little bits and put them in a blender.

19 Responses to “Warning! Religious Musings Ahead!”

  1. John says:

    I once read in Readers Digest about a Quaker who surprised a burglar. The Quaker pulled our his gun and said “Friend, I would not harm thee for all the world, but thou standest where I wish to shoot.”

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Heh, that’s pretty good! The bride and I wer just talking to some friends this weekend about the demise of Reader’s Digest; it really was everywhere. You couldn’t go to a doctor’s office, a neighbor’s house, anywhere, without seeing a few copies laying about. And they always had jokes like that. They had sections on religious jokes, military jokes, and sort of ‘general humor’, didn’t they?

  3. Ken Summers says:

    Maundy Thursday? What happened to Tuasdy and Wednesday?

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Wasn’t that a Mommas and the Pappas song?
    “bah-bah, bah-babbabbah
    Maundy Thursday
    So good to me…”

  5. Crusader says:

    Well, being the token family fundie, I mostly agree. I place a bit more trust in the Bible, but otherwise we are on the same page. And actually, our Sunday School Class goes and shoots together, so we have the home defense covered. Years ago, I remember having an SBI agent who lived across the street of our old house. His wife was a PI, and we were once talking about home defense. She stated that she kept her 9mm in the nightstand, and I replied that the pistol I had at the time ( a .22) was not up to what I needed, so I kept the Mossberg 500 with 5 in the tube, but an empty chamber. I said they would have warning when I cycled the pump, but that was it if they chose to hang around. I then told her that if by chance she heard a loud boom in the night, she may want to roll out of bed. When asked why, I explained that the first round into the tube was birdshot, but the next was OO brass magnum (3 in, if you are wondering). After the ‘whatinthehelldoyouhavethatloadedfor’, I explained that the first round was to put them down , whilst the OO was to make sure they never got up. Still have the 500 in the safe, but now have a S&W .45 for primary, tho the 45/70 would do the trick quite nicely…..

  6. Major Dad pointed this out to me in Tues’s local fish wrap. I enjoyed it and am sorely aggrieved I missed the letter that occasioned this response…
    A Round World?
    Letter writer Jerri Schmuck (“Warning of hell”‘ March 13) proclaims,”Scientists could have learned the Earth is round in the book of Job years ago instead of fearing they would drop off.” Ironically, until the Age of Enlightenment scientists were almost non-existent in the christian world, as they were burned at the stake as heretics.
    The Bible’s authors were consistent in believing that the earth was a circular plane and not a sphere ~ a dome covered plate and not a beach ball. Job was no exception. “He has encompassed [circled] the water with bounds”, Job 26:10.
    Certainly Job would have known that a sphere doesn’t have ends:”That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it,” Job 38:13. Notice that Job feared “they would drop off.”
    The Bible’s authors tell us that our celestial pie plate is inhabited by: four legged chickens, Leviticus 11:20; unicorns, Deuteronomy 33:17; a talking ass, Numbers 22:27-33; and a forest where trees talk to each other, Judges 9:8-15. These are probably found at the “four corners of the earth,” Isaiah 11:12.
    “Figures of speech,” you say. Then maybe the whole book is an allegory.
    ~Also A. Schmuck, AL

    …and am on tenterhooks awaiting the rhetorical barrage (earnest protestations, prayers for his soul, prayers for his early demise as well as fervent prayers for his eternal torment in hell, etc.) that is, at this very moment, being scribbled frantically, dashed off like a Mozart chamber piece and eagerly awaiting it’s appearence in print to blast the imminently deserving Mr. A.A. Schmuck, his heretical suggestion and the evil minions created by it to perdition. Or Cleveland. Whichever’s worse.
    The LFW opinion page is gonna be smokin’ for the next few weeks.

  7. On the thoughts expressed in the OP, I can only say that my brothers, husband, son and this nation are proof there is a God.

  8. Tributaries says:

    Battle of Life

    I am too taken with rage and sorrow for Terri to say anything more about it.  I believe, like The Anchoress, that God has His Hand in this and it …

  9. I love this post, Mr. Bingley!!!
    And to confess (slightly) I haved faced that Demon you speak of…I have no idea whpoat God’s final judgement is, but I can tell you, it helped create a new appreciation for the concept of sin. And no, we are not hypocrits for having experienced sin. We are hypocrits when we do not strive to face it down and place sin where it belongs while telling others they are no good because of THEIR sin.
    (and thank you for linking me!)

  10. John says:

    Cleveland is definitely worse. Although both places are known to have a lake of fire.

  11. Crusader says:

    Take him to… Detroit!
    Sorry, KFM moment there….

  12. Mr. Bingley says:

    2 weeks in Philadelphia…

  13. Even John Denver wrote bad things about Cleveland.

  14. Mr. Bingley says:

    That was Toledo, THS.

  15. I thought it was Cleveland. And don’t you THS me, you

  16. Mr. Bingley says:

    Those ol’ synapses ain’t firing like they used to, eh?

  17. Someone who writes ‘climp’ should be cracking on me?

  18. Mr. Bingley says:

    I, as a native son of this land, am helping the language grow. You, on the other hand, are a danged ferner. “Climp” will be all the rage soon, you’ll see.

  19. Tributaries says:

    The Communion of Saints

    Dawn Eden talks about praying to saints, a well-thought and thorough explanation for a concept that alludes those not raised with ‘Catholic’ concepts.  It was what I was trying …

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