I’m not a Catholic. But I’m MAD.
God bless the religious workers all over the world who spend their time working to ease the lives of other people every day. Those people, however, are no more infallible or closer to God than you or I.
Getting a church paycheck doesn’t make you holier than anyone else. And too often, when someone puts on a church robe, it’s a way for them … and us … to pretend that their lives aren’t any more or less meaningful or wretched than the rest of us.
In fact, I have more respect for someone who just decides to do their ordinary workday job from an ethical, helpful mindset than I do for “religious leaders” who work to protect the church institution or shine the glory on themselves.
Look at any faith here on the planet. You won’t find any scripture where it says that buildings or vestments or church hierarchy have anything to do with getting closer to God. On the other hand, consider Jesus’s attitude towards the Pharisees … and consider the lilies of the field …..
So when we ordinary folks feel anger, shock and disbelief over how the Catholic church continues to cover up and protect pederast priests rather than getting to the root of the problem, it’s a sign that we need to start taking responsibility for our own spirituality.
If anything, most religious institutions make it MORE difficult to understand how to have a meaningful relationship with God. My life is based in a Christian tradition, so that’s the one I know the best. In Mark 12:28-31, Jesus is asked what is the most important commandment. Now, do you think maybe this is a signal that something important is coming? Jesus basically says to love God with everything you’ve got. That doesn’t mean serve God, it doesn’t mean fear God, it doesn’t mean humble yourself before God, it doesn’t mean pretend to be nicer around God than you really are.
It means love. Adore, cherish, idolize, lose your heart for. That’s the most important thing. And, oh, by the way, there’s a second. Love those other human beings around you as much as you love yourself.
Jesus goes on to say there’s no greater commandment than these.
We all have crazy busy lives these days. And we look for shortcuts to a good relationship with God. On top of that, we tend to go with what we know.
But if the above two commandments are the two most important ones there are, how often do Christian churches return to those two basic messages? Love God. Love each other. Simple focus … and something you can focus a lifetime on. All the other rules and trappings are a distraction.
No wonder we’re angry. The religious leaders we trusted are too often more confused by their mission, more confused by God’s messages that He’s still sending, and more confused by the skills it takes to run large organizations than the rest of us are.
Now we’re as angry at our religious leaders as we are at our government leaders. You think it’s time to start taking more responsibility for our own unique lives than ever before?