East Sunday Religion Rant
My fiance's family was in town this weekend and we attended an Easter service at Grace Lutheran - the sermon was performed by Rev. Dan R.
Whenever I attend a religious service my brain jumps into hyper-drive. At Denison University I was a world religions and theology major - I also majored in political science while in Granville OH. I have always been intrigued by institutions that have the power to create the social fabric and ideologies that dictate how we live both in the present and in the past. While attending any religious service I feel my brain spastically pursue a wide range of thoughts – during this flood of ideas I feel compelled to write. It was not till recently that I was informed this could appear to be rude or inconsiderate - but for me this process is how I think so too bad so sad (I now try to be discrete). The writing process is how I organize my thoughts. Without writing my thoughts cycle then recycle; circling round and round until I allow them to escape. There have been several ideas that I have to put to paper before I can even fall asleep. During today's sermon Rev. Dan R. - who I have the utmost respect for and appreciate his understanding of his faith sparked a series of thoughts that I wanted to included here today. I believe that anyone who can spark thoughts deserves immense credit because I love thought provoking moments, ideas, etc.
During the first reading the congregation heard a story of Jesus and his disciples - the author of this text established an analogy to enable the meaning and importance of his story to take hold with the public of the time. Any analogy requires the understanding of both situations you are describing - if you are creating an analogy between a monarchy and your belief of a higher power - you must understand both of these situations to enable the analogy to make sense and hold the meaning you intend.
As my mind began to push this idea - I came to the realization that we are only able to describe the ideas or concepts we understand. As a teacher- I am often forced by my students to explain difficult historical situations and concepts by forging analogies they can understand. I love this aspect of my job. Trying to simplify yet explain the complexity to students who want to understand but do not yet have the life experience to see all aspects of the situation.
When then, we come back to religion how do we describe something that I believe no one truly understands? The generalizing of a complex idea inevitably leads to the dissection of that idea. The simplified analogies being used are never perfect – failing to perfectly fit the complex reality.
I love to discuss religion. I love to hear how people think. I love to push all of these questions when talking with friends and family. I feel that you need to push your understanding by asking questions by seeking to push the limits of your knowledge by pushing the boundaries. Plus, by understanding how someone thinks I believe you better understand them as an individual. Yet, pushing the religion topic is often meet with looks of apprehension and sighs of really now we are going to talk about this –
It is important to note, not that all truly care, I believe in religion. Religion meaning beliefs that inform an individual on the way to live. This broad definition can be dissected – and please do. But all religions begin as cults –and transform with the their growth of followers.
This brings me to one of my pet peeves - people misuse words that have a popular connotation that is different than the definition of the word. This dissecting of word choice, however, is why in an early rant I explained I have be hesitant to rant myself lately because I realize without editing I will make these same mistakes in my own writing – because I do not edit instead just let the words frantically flow.
I have faith in religion because I believe everyone has a path and beliefs that help inform them how to live their life. Shared communities are also essential for the human experience. If a religious path help the individual or community become happier and better (interesting qualifier I know) religion is a success. I am religious without a religion – others in this world have a religion that fits their life path with a name – yet all religions take a leap of faith.
Rants often end without the perfect bow as they are not neatly wrapped thoughts instead simply strands of thought that need to be untangled – I hope some of these thoughts provoked sparks of ideas for you (all those readers I have – the vast number clearly is probably shrinking after this post)