Tuesday, 3 March 2009

God Versus His Representatives

I have many thoughts and journal entries on God. God this and God that, and I believe this and I believe that.

I am not going to list or write about all of them here, because they would fill up too many pages. But I am going to write some here and some there and some now and some later. Some will be what I believed then and some are what I believe now and some will be what pops into my head just in the second I am writing. Some are old and some are new and some are a mixture of the both time periods.

You will see that as I go on in these various posts about God that I believe everything and I believe nothing.

And if you catch me in contradictions (just like the sentence above) that is fine and you can feel free to point them out to me. I am full of contradictions just like the Judea-Christian bible; but I do not proclaim that I am God’s word on earth.

Today on my pulpit I thought I would talk about God (spirituality) versus his representatives (organized religion).

God reminds us that we are all one; one with him and one with each other. Representatives teach division, disunity, and separation which are all the opposite of God. God teaches us unconditional love while representatives teach us love is conditional for only those that are like-minded. Representatives gave us the crusades, jihads, and told us it was right to slaughter others in God’s name. God teaches us to honour the rights and beliefs of others. Representatives teach us that the world’s indigenous peoples are savages that must be saved. God teaches love, peace, unity, and harmony. Representatives teach us that wars are justified and therefore have participated in mass killings on a grand scale.

God teaches us that he is within while representatives teach that he is in Heaven and that the only way to connect with him is to let them be our intermediary. God says we are born in innocence while representatives say we are born in sin. God teaches us to have faith in ourselves and the representatives would have us have faith in them. God says ‘we’ have all the answers and that by going within ‘we’ can find them. Representatives teach us that only it has the answers and to get them ‘we’ must go outside of ourselves and look to them.

God says that we are free to make choices on our own and that we must take personal responsibility for our actions. Representatives say that we must follow their choices and act their way. God is unconditional love; yet representatives teach us guilt and fear. God leads us to him to lighten our burden and ease our pain. Representatives would have us fear God’s wrath unless we have given the prescribed sacrifice. God teaches that we are made in his image and that we should not be ashamed of who we are or who we love. Representatives have taught us to be ashamed, guilty and to feel dirty especially if we love someone of the same sex. God teaches that we should not be ashamed of our sexuality; that it is a celebration of love. Representatives try to enforce laws such as Proposition 8 in California.

God teaches us to respect all living things and to honour the earth. Representatives pay lip service to living things and the earth. God does not require us to make monetary donations to him; while the representatives have become big business.

God teaches us that we are free to choose our own path to God. Representatives’ command that we follow their path and that if we choose not to, we will never see God. God teaches us to search for universal truths and to open our hearts and listen; listen to our hearts and they will tell us when we have found the truths. Representatives teach us that we have no choice but to accept their truth. God teaches us that there is no Hell, no judgment and no angry God. Representatives teach that there is a hell, we will be judged, and that if we don’t follow their path we will meet up with an angry God.

God has taught me that I am on a long spiritual journey and that when my physical body dies my spirit will move on and be reunited with my other (my source); my God whom I love. Representatives teach that we have one life to live or many lives but until we get it right there will be nothing for us but Heaven or Hell.

I am off the pulpit now, but having said all this, I still appreciate the representative that I was raised with. The Catholic Church was my representative and I like many things about it. I love the pomp and ceremony. I love the Catholic mass and all the rituals it entails. When I die I want a complete Catholic funeral with the incense and holy water and if you all feel like wailing and moaning you go right ahead.


Delwyn said...

Renee: have you been saving all that up for sometime? You have made a complete litany of the ways of God and the ways of man...

Ritual and spiritual practices are very powerful ways of opening the doors to our souls.

Michelle said...

Ahhhh lady, you speak my language betterer than me :)

I agree totally.

And that kind of said it all really.

And when you die you can have whatever you want!

God says so.


pRiyA said...

Whew, it seems as if you took all my doubts and secret opinions about religion and articulated them in this post.
How well you write! As I read this I realized I had the expression of a goldfish - eyes bulging, mouth open... and that too me, who doesn't usually read long blog posts.
I want to re-post this as recommended reading on my blog with your permission. It is extrordinarily lucid and insightful.
I think Time magazine should publish this...

Debra said...

Oh Renee I could not have said it better. I always had a problem with the thought of God being "All Merciful" and then reading he is a "Vengeful God". People forget the bible, a good book, was written by Men. It has been changed, altered, and debated. Your image says it all. "God" is wonderful, it is organized religion that can be dangerous. It is ironic how "Faith" in religion allows us to judge others, exclude, condemn, and even kill. All the things we attribute to "evil".

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What an incredible post. I've been thinking so much lately about truly following God and listening to God, and trying not to be distracted by religious culture that sometimes strays away from God.
I'm thankful that I've found a church community that is journeying along with me, that helps me grow, but even in my comfort I try to stay aware that they are people, who may wander away just like me. My goal is to keep my eyes and heart focused on God.
When we lived in France I became very interested in the Catholic church, which I'd always been taught to view with suspicion. I love the way it honors the mystery of God.

Ces said...

Yes! I love the masses, the ceremonies, the funerals. I love the Rosary. Hot diggity, I cry every time I pray the Rosary because I remember my mother and she was all goodness and kindness and ...

I love the Latin High mass and the Latin prayers said during my paprents' funerals. The Catholic church has taken a lot of beating because of the pedophiles and because it refuses to declare homosexuality as moral and normal.

Like any organization, it has its flaws and I am glad they finally dealt with the issues.

Churches are not the symbols of God but of religion. Religions were organized by men as a means of control in the name of their God or gods.

Now about God, God is good, if one belives in God. I do. How can I not? I uttered God's name when I saw the magnifcent General Sherman and the natural wonders. I feel God when I am blessed with someone's kindness. I believe in God when I think of my family.

Lisa said...

wow- we have the same brain i think Renee.
I abhor what organised religion has done to the love of God, and you know what- i think he/she/ it would too.
thank you for being my words and thoughts tonight
Lisa xx

jacquie said...

this post was beautiful and represents many of my spiritual beliefs.
it is a hot topic but does not have to be explosive if we all can appreciate (that god and spirituality come in many truths for many people)and respect one anothers opinion as we are all entitled to our opinion and if it does conflict with your belief that we can agree to disagree also known as freedom of speach.
i enjoyed what you wrote immensely.
together strong

Sarah said...

Good morning hon! Thank you for being there for me yesterday!!!{{{{hugs}}}}. Am better today.
I seem to always have to ponder what you offer up everyday with a hmmmmmm..... I completely agree with almost all of what you wrote - whole heartedly jump up and down and say...yes,yes,yes!!!!!! Very well said - you get to the heart of the divine & being divine. Love, Sarah

Anonymous said...

Amen "SISTER"! I will moan and cry and that is because I love you and will miss the life we have together, but I am so greatful to your God for sharing you with me, not just sharing you but you are a part of me and I am a part of you...(Don't get me started.)

So thought provoking and yet I love the questions that linger, something real to contemplate.

Love you

MarionL said...

I also agree with you totally, Renee. I read a quote in my lifelong studying of world religions that was a like a slap in the face, it was so profound. It's from a Hindu teaching:

"There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn't matter which path you take.

The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong."

Shelly said...

Amen to that sister!

You have always been a representative to me, you are one of the two people (the other being Dad) who have had the biggest influence on my spirituality. I too love the pomp and ceremony and do consider myself Catholic.

I remember telling you that I was struggling because I don’t know everything there is to know about the Catholic religion and some of the things I do know I don’t believe in … to which you replied “that is okay, you do not have to follow blindly to belong to something” I always loved that you said that – you always make it okay for me to be me.

If I am still alive when the time comes (I pray many, many, many years from now) I will be the one of the wailers and moaners.

p.s. Renee a priest next?!! lol

studio lolo said...

Wow. A million times wow! You've said so much of what has been in my head and heart for most of my life.
I'm not fond of organized religion of any sort. I feel that I'm a very spiritual person but not religious although I do believe in God. Some would call me a hypocrite but usually they're the uber religious ones who feel the only way is their way.
I don't get the "born again" thing.
I was born okay the first time.
The best way to sum up my beliefs is "Nature is my church, kindness is my religion."

It's served me well so far and I know God is there for me.


Renee said...

Marion: I hope you read this because I have been trying to post a comment on your blog for the last three days and it kicks me out everytime. I think it is your blog because I have no problem with anyone elses. p.s. I got to see a couple of your collages but then it kicked me out.

Love Renee

Julie said...

Hear, hear! I tell everyone who asks that I fell out of the faith not because of God, but because of the Church. I did, however, get to the point where I also let go of God. That was a million times more painful.

Personally, I believe when we die, we end up in Bali. And you will be the queen of it!

Meghann said...

I have said it before and I'll say it again - you are an incredible writer. For years I have said the same things, mostly to averted gazes and shocked silences. Religion is man-made, and as man is fallible, so is his religion. I don't mind reading the Bible, in fact I love it, but I have a problem with the many churches that preach the same bible, but totally different lifestyles. I have been United, Presbyterian, Anglican and High Anglican (yes there are BIG differences between the two Anglicans!) and NONE of them are even remotely similar, except that we worship the same God and believe in Christ.
I'll stick to my Bible and home-study by myself, thank you!

Alice said...

Do you mind terribly if I quote you? You have triggered a lot of thinking about religion and my relationship to it after reading this earlier today, and if I begin to write about it I'd like to show what triggered it and refer anyone who reads it to your wonderful blog.

I love your thinking

Alice x

Daria said...

That is an amazing post. You sure have a way of making me see things in a different light.

I am always stimulated by your blog.

Thanks for that.

studio lolo said...

I'm glad I made you laugh Renee!

I saw that bumper sticker on a car at one of my client's houses. The guy is a total hippie. Lots of those left around here :)

"Born okay the first time."
yep. Gotta love it!


I hope my envelope makes you laugh too!

Dawn said...

Renee I started to read your blog and I cried and cried; why? because you so eloquently put into words exactly how I feel. It was amazing to read your words, and know they are the thoughts I have in my head.
It was mindblowing, it was like being totally at one with you.

I don't go to church every week, I used to - I used to sing in the choir. Then working shifts meant I couldn't go every week.
But this never bothered me, the reason being I believe that I don't have to be in a church to speak to God. I have spoken to him in my car, sitting on the loo (yes really)because I know that I can talk to him where ever and when ever I want to.
I feel guilty when others talk about going to Church and ashamed to say I don't go... I shouldn't I know, I suppose it is because by admitting that I don't go might make others feel less of me...then I argue with myself about the fact that I choose not to go (coming full circle here) because I can talk to him where I wish...

I love your writings, you amaze me and I love you.
When you die you have that all singing all dancing funeral that you want - and I shall be sending my thoughts to you and yours.

Aleksandra said...

Dear Renee,I hope that my coment is coming over to you,(i am having problems with my blog and some strange things are going on)not just the words but my LOVE from my WHOLE HEART,for everything what you wrote,how you did it,it represents milions of us.Last weeks I am fighting of those representatives from different religions,they whant to ventilate hatred and make our living hell on earth,I am sick of it,cant and will not let no one push me around like my persona means nothing,I am building on beauty,love,friendship and trust, cause I will not let any poor bugger think that he or she is in power to poison life,not my life nor of those who can not defend them selfs.THANK YOU,and take care,love Aleksandra.

Anonymous said...

If only what you write, and describe so beautifully, was what was taught about God. There would be so much more faith and love in the name of God and much less fear and hate.
I think much more about the force of these representatives as they have a deep painful impact on many around me.
Someone I love dearly is struggling with condemnation and ideas of the wrath of an angry God so profoundly they are paralysed and on the verge of no return. Watching someone move so far from love and forgiveness and feel such fear is unbearable to witness. I know in my heart this is the opposite of what God is, and wants.

I face the judgement and societal impact of these so-called representatives as someone who loves someone of the same gender. Your words of support are golden.

Thank you for continuing to make love your cause. xo

glorv1 said...

That was definitely a beautiful post. My friend Mexico Bob would surely love to read this. I will tell him about your post. I believe in God and try my best to always do right. We are not perfect, though. Renee, tears will fall from my eyes when you die. You can cry for me too. Your friend, gloria.

Ces said...

Ah my cousins are Chinese and they hire professional criers. I love their funeral processions, all wearing black. I loved Pope John Paul's funeral. It was beautiful.

Karin said...

perfectly, beautifully said my friend!! This I can say Amen to. xox Karin

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Just dropping in to say hello, and leave a quote or two that expresses precisely how I feel about this subject:

"He who is near the church is often far from God” (can't remember who wrote this.)

"Going to church doesn't make you any more a Christian than going to the garage makes you a car." ~Laurence J. Peter

I hope you enjoy this beautiful night with your loved ones!

Love ya,


Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Renee, such a wonderful post. You have stated so many things that have passed through my brain. I agree with all you have said about organized religion but having said that I must say that I love the Episcopal ceremonies which are similar to the Catholic. One thing about my favorite church (and the one where I am a member although I don't get there as often as I'd like) is what the priest says when inviting people to take communion. He or she (as we have male & female priests) says, "All are welcome at this table no matter where they are in their journey of faith." Even though I am baptized this speaks to me because I don't know where I am in my journey of faith ... or even if I have any religious faith ... but I do know I am on a journey.
Thank you for writing this post. It's so wonderful to read your deep, deep thoughts.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

A lovely way to put into words things that are usually impossible to put into words.

Bella Sinclair said...

A very important distinction, and I couldn't have said it better. I've been hounded by people who tell me I'm doing it wrong, and it has made me develop such a distaste for organized religion. But I do believe in goodness and spirituality. You are proof of that to me, and that's all I need.

YayaOrchid said...

Each one of us is free to choose how we believe or if we even believe in the existence of God. We were all born with that right.

I could have been, and in fact was lost...an unbeliever. But I am thankful that God chose me:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." John 15:16

And that is why I proclaim, if I may humbly do so in your blog Renee, that if you want to 'see' what God is REALLY like, you need to read the Bible to make a truly informed decision.

Anonymous said...

The words you have written here are the very reason I do not attend church at this time. I find a battle between the love God gives and the force of the churches ideals pressed onto how I live my life.
I know God loves me and has given me his guide book to stay out of trouble best I can while I am here and how to treat others with love.

Thank you for your kind words about Hazel.

I go to see Prof Loescher this afternoon. Should get my MRI scan results today.

Anonymous said...

Reading these lovely messages everyone as sent you.
So beautiful and loving! You are really touching peoples hearts and if we are and so many of us feeling the same about the love of God. We are made in is image and God is love! What a beautiful thing you have written and done here! Your a star Renee!

kenflett said...

wailing and moaning...

that puts a smile on my face.

Carolyn said...

I too love my Catholic religion. I think it is awesome! Church on Sunday to me is a privilege. The one place where people are always nice and happy to see you. People with their families and most important the safe, peaceful feeling of God's presence!

Emerald Arts said...

I remember actually reading the bible when I was about 10 and thinking... this is all lovely, but how come every body takes it all so literally?

I've always thought that people who question faith, or think about why they believe, how they believe, who they think god is, believe more truly.


<3 EM

LaWatha said...

As Nancy commented... "Going to church doesn't make you any more a Christian than going to the garage makes you a car. ~Laurence J. Peter"

Enjoyed your post- as so many others said, you really spoke the way I feel, except you're so much more eloquent than I could ever dream of being.

I can't believe that a mass murderer can accept Christ as his savior at the last minute and get a free ticket to heaven- but somebody as honest and loving as my daughter who is an atheist, will burn in hell because she doesn't believe in a God? I can't imagine a God that would do that-

I was raised a Southern Baptist, but grew apart from the church as I got older. I won't get in to it here, but the church was full of hypocrites. I refuse to step foot in church now except for weddings and funerals.

When I die, I don't want a funeral at all (I don't want any of those hypocrites having anything to do with me!) but if anybody wants to wail and moan for me, please feel free to do so. :-) Renee, should you die before me, you can bet I will be moaning and wailing loudly- mourning the fact that I did not get to know you sooner, did not get to know you better. As usual, you are a bright spot in a rather dreary day here in NE Washington.

Lydia said...

Dear Renee,

Thank you for your' always so kind' words.

I never understood the whole hell and damnation thing, because I was not raised with such.

I am Eastern (Russian ) Orthodox. Their was a schism, as you may know, in 1054, in Byzantium. The Orthodox church, and the Catholic Church were formed.The Orthodox Church, for one, did not believe in one all powerful representative of God, here on Earth, such as a Pope.The Orthodox also see more metaphors in the Bible in interpretation.

My husband is Catholic, and felt the same way as you do about the' hell and fury'. My father always raised me to Love God, and that God would always be there for me , no matter what. And that is how I raise my children, and hopefully have inspired my husband.

I always loved the line, at Easter midnight service, "...and if anyone should come in the 11th hour"...basically, that God makes room for all. God knows what is in everyone's heart,for I certainly am nothing near perfect.

My children were raised to say a prayer, if they witnessed an accident, for example. And even though we may have certain beliefs about some hot topics, it is not for us to judge, we must accept all. For, we all have our faults.

Also, the Eastern Orthodox do not proselytize much.We feel that our actions should speak louder than our words. Not to say that one cannot speak of their faith, or even to others.

Also, we are humans, and as such are not God, but strive to be more Christ like. So as such, there are, as in any faith, those who do wrong, giving the church a 'bad name' at times.But, our faith is not defined by those in the church who might misrepresent, but by what God has given us in our faith.

I am sorry that there are those who have been 'scared away' from God, instead of brought closer because of God's love. When I was younger, I pulled away, and questioned the aspect of going to church weekly.I did not like this one young priest much, who was very strict and old-believer like. But, I always had God in my heart, even though I didn't really realize it.

And that is not to say that I haven't sinned, because' I am the first to stand in line.' Almost dying while giving birth, and other circumstances certainly led me closer in an understanding of my faith. Because, when my blood pressure was plummeting drastically, right after delivering my 11lbs. 12 oz. baby boy ,(naturally & w/no drugs), I said a prayer for my son, then just continued to pray the Jesus prayer. My husband forced me to drink fluids, which made me hemorrhage out the pieces of placenta that were stuck inside me, that may have done me in.

I did want to add that I was always taught, that in going to church, the calling upon God in a group, is so much more powerful.

Also, my mother always told me, that God always hears childrens' prayers- even more so, because their hearts are pure. We are considered pure 'til about the age of 8 or 9 or so, depending upon the child. That is when many children start to think in other ways. That is when children go to confession. Children in the Orthodox faith, are baptized shortly after birth, for their protection.

I am sorry for going on,but maybe it would be interesting to have another perspective. I think it is wonderful how so many people from all walks have chosen to follow your trials and blog. Your warmth and love are evidenced in your writings.xo la

dragonesque said...

Very astute. You can't legislate for common sense, and that is what so many "organised religions" attempt to do.

Unfortunately, bad experiences result in many people throwing the baby out with the bath water and rejecting spirituality altogether. The parts about looking within to find God resonated with me most powerfully of all of the many wonderful points in your post.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You have definitely struck a chord with many like minded bloggers.

Snowbrush said...

I hope you are right about there being a next life. I also wish I could believe that God says all that you think he says, but my guess is that God never said anything to anyone, indeed, that God cannot say anything to anyone. At least, he/she/it/whatever never said the first word to me. Maybe you think I just didn't recognize his voice or that I was unwilling to listen, but I did my best to hear, and to understand, and even to accept.

If I may be so bold to say what I think you already know (I believe you were simply trying to make a point): you over generalize about what his "representatives" say. In my experience they say very different things. Not all are so sure as you paint them, or so arrogant in believing that they know the truth.

I thank you humbly for visiting my blog and for offering your kind words of praise. You are a ray of sunshine at a time when my sky contains far too many gray clouds to suit me.

The Strawberry Mallard said...

Better late than never to have found this post in your archives...I know that you are hearing/seeing/feeling my comment Renee...
Lifting you up right now dear Renee!

Hugs, Nancy