The Only Thing in the Middle of the Road is …

We say these things sometimes with out realizing our arrogance and condescension. 

“You are not like those other (Fill in name of group here)” We say, for example, thinking that this is praise while, generally, confirming our own stereotypes.

I want to admit, right up front, that I am skirting that line.   I know that there is some arrogance in what I want to express.  I am going to say it anyway.

I realized that I feel this way as I was teaching history class the other day.  We were reading about the rise of Islam.  One of the kids asked a question.  It wasn’t directly related.  But I realized I wanted to talk about it all day long. 

I love religions.

Plural.

I am a Christian.  I worship the living Christ.  I believe that the fullest truth is revealed in the generally accepted canon of scriptures.   I think if a person were to only learn about one faith, it should be Christianity, because I think that the truths here are the most complete and important.

But I love religions.

There is so much beauty and power and power in mans eternal grappling with the Eternal. 

I know in saying this, I am going to stir up not only the people who think I am patting them on the head and saying, “Aww, don’t you have cute little ideas.”   I am also going to stir up my brothers and sisters in Christ who think that other religions are dangerous things which lead us down the path to destruction.

Probably at least one of those groups is right.  Maybe they both are.

But here I am, and this tension hasn’t quite resolved for me, yet.  So I am going to hold it, pray over it, study it and think about it and share it. 

And so… there it is.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Only Thing in the Middle of the Road is …

  1. I’m not entirely in disagreement with you here, my friend. (Sometimes dangerous. Sometimes really helpful. Certainly beautiful.)

    I try to avoid mentioning typographical errors, but this one is kind of a sense error: “I believe the fullest truth is reviled in the generally accepted cannon or scriptures.” I think you mean reVEALED? (Also, canon. ;) )

  2. Thanks Jenn. For the solidarity and the editing. I fixed the typos, as they distorted the meaning. The revealed thing distorts the whole meaning. But the image of a scripture cannon is kind of funny. Maybe enough of a word play to be worthy of a whole post.

  3. Joseph Campbell (your distant relative?) had great comments about this.His assertion was that religion (all religion) is metaphor–and if you mistake religion for the thing is represents, you lose the meaning. As Bruce Lee said, “It is like the finger pointing to the moon. If you look at the finger, you miss the moon in all its heavenly glory.”

  4. My namesake (though no relation, bummer) has some interesting things to say. I went that route for a number of years, through college– affirming that the major world religions are all roughly equal pointers toward The Ultimate.
    My experience was that unless you begin to fairly arbitrarily cut out one major tradition or another, you end up with such a meddled mess of assertions you can’t really do much with it, on a personal level. For example, I can conceptualize the idea that God’s true nature is so far beyond my little ant brain that it is somehow simultaneously true that he is both personal and non-personal, he is both a triune God and also only has one nature, etc. etc.
    However, when it comes time to personally engage with this entity, I can’t– and I don’t think anybody could– relate, let alone worship. I think if you hold the idea that God wants to engage us, it has to follow that he is leading us increasingly to him.
    So I don’t go so far as Joseph Campbell, anymore. But this doesn’t prevent me from admiring other traditions. Thanks for commenting Jeff. Hope you’ll say more soon.

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