As I posted last week, whatever your pathway to peace is, if it gets you there, that’s the right way.
I’m probably a heretic among Christians, but they’re all being very patient and longsuffering because they realize I am going through a process. But I mean to remain staunchly independent. In fact, the bible commands that I do! There’s a bible verse that basically says, “Why are you worrying about old school religious dogma? If you indeed died to this world and were reborn in the Holy Spirit, then why are you afraid of being judged by men–whose very nature is wickedness and mental frailty–and by the religion they basically just pulled out of their ass?” (That’s the King James translation, ahem, cough cough. You might want to look it up yourself in Col. 2:16-23.)
Christianity as an institution is man-made, just as Judaism as an institution was man-made. Yet I choose spiritual thinking because of my “spiritual awakening”, and I choose Christ because 1. it was in his name that I had my spiritual awakening and 2. because it is the most influential tradition in my psyche. The brotherhood of Christians out there presents a very powerful and hypnotic attraction for me–much like the Borg Collective does for the “Seven of Nine” character from Star Trek: Voyager. There’s wonderful peace and harmonic resonance in being a part of the Christian collective and waving that flag.
And therein, of course, lies the danger. This danger I am acutely aware of. I don’t want to give myself entirely over to the congregation, for they are comprised of men, not of the Christ himself. The bible teaches that we follow the Christ because we are sick, not because we are well. Does an emergency room full of sick people operate on each other? No, that would spell death for most of them. Duh, they await the Doctor. (See Luke 5:31-32.)
My awareness of the allure of groupthink and its potential damaging consequences poses some cognitive dissonance for me, which can be troubling to me, so I “give it to God” by praying and meditating on his answers in silence, and lo and behold I feel clean and pure each time that I do. Praying to a deity whose history and traditions are known to me is a profoundly comforting experience.
Fitting into a crowd we do not belong to is a terribly painful pursuit, but we must fit into a crowd somewhere, for we are indeed pack or herd animals, we humans, and that crowd must be within our personal grasp. Yet some compromise is inevitable and necessary, for no two people are alike, and so we must submit to a certain baseline level of conformity in any brotherhood we choose to call home. We must find some place where we can be mostly ourselves and not give up too much of who we are deep down.
I will not choose a church, at least not as yet. It is not “God’s will” that I do, if his replies to my prayers are to be given their full weight. Christians in large groups are not appealing to me. The more people there are in any group, the narrower the common ground must necessarily become (this is a mathematical truth), and thus the more stringent the requirements for belonging to the group will be. But Christ said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” (Matthew 18:20.)
Two or three. That is sufficient for me and it is sufficient for Christ. No more is biblically required of me, nor of you, my brothers and sisters. Let the whole world be our church, and let Christ be our rabbi (teacher). Let Christ speak through our actions–through our charity, our patience, our peace–and let the rest of Christendom squabble over the details.