I know its been a while since I have written anything. With my students at the end of their semester, spare time gets a little more difficult to find. That is until 3 inches of sleet hit the DFW area. So, I have managed to get completely caught up in nearly everything I have going on – even in my reading. Which brings me around to my thoughts for this very cold morning (its 20F here): Christianity. Or I should say, my thoughts on the Christian faith.
For me, its been a little weird on the blogosphere – or at least the corner that I tend to spend time on. Lately there’s been two trains of thought: Magic and Christianity. The Magic topic is something I will attempt to tackle tomorrow. Today, I try to hit that elusive pinata called Christianity. And its elusive because there are so many directions one can take.
Over the past few weeks, the blogosphere wagged on and on about Teo Bishop‘s recent decision to step back to his former Christian faith. The resulting commentary was all over the map. “He’s a traitor to his Pagan faith!” “He never was a Pagan to being with!” “I hope he finds the serenity and peace that he desires with his choice.” “I am saddened that he chose to walk away from his true Path.” All those emotions, tied up in a single individual’s choice for the Path that he had to walk. The Path that he needed to walk. While there were people who wished Teo well on his choice, there were a lot more angry voices decrying his choice as something terrible, something completely unfathomable. It was difficult not to roll my eyes over the artificial drama that ensued.
Another major topic that has been making its rounds through the Blogosphere are posts announcing what issues an individual has with Christianity. Point upon point are laid out with meticulous added detail of why Christianity does not fit this particular blogger’s satisfaction on their Individual Personal Belief System (IPBS). Much like Martin Luther nailing his Ninety Five Theses to the door of the church, these statements are made to read like a laundry list of difficulties with what is Christianity. What purpose there is beyond making the statement of differences, I am not sure…I try very hard not to get into prognostication or predictive analysis of individual intent. After all, my name is not Carnac the Magnificent nor do I have the telepathic abilities of Lyta Alexander.
Here is my own perspective on Christianity. Its a spiritual Path, just like any other. Its adherents pull inspiration and comfort from the symbolism and religious values imparted from the teachings of that Path. And while there are biblical passages that can be set forth as examples of where harm and violence to non-adherents is tolerated and even desired – I am reminded that the Bible as an instrument of supposed divine inspiration created by humans. And human beings can be highly motivated by political means and desires to achieve power to create “explanations” to achieve those ends. The teachings of the Christ are typically not found to follow those precepts of gathering power and political achievement. Followers of Jesus strive to be more “Christ-like” – that is to be more compassionate to the plights of other human beings, to set forth a position of loving others for who they are – even when those people are different from the Christian. For me, that is the true measure of a Christian. I have no problem with this approach in an IPBS. In fact, I believe it is a position that every individual on this planet should inure themselves towards.
When I hear people say that they have a “problem” with Christianity, I typically hear them mention issues related to the manner of worship, or something related to adherents of the Christian faith utilizing biblical teachings towards the political/power aggregate. For me, I have problems with people utilizing IPBS for these means no matter what faith they adhere to. When I look at Christianity, I have no problem with the belief system. When boiled down to its purest basic structure, it is a belief system suffused in love, acceptance, and overall servitude to the community at large. When infused with political and personal additives, that message is overwhelmed by desires for positions that are somewhat incompatible (if not far greater than somewhat) with the basic message it announces to the world at large.
I understand that not all adherents to Christianity follow the basic precepts set forth in the teachings of the Christ. Smeg, pick an IPBS and you will find adherents there that do not follow the basic precepts of it as well. I’m not writing this to condemn those people as “incorrect” or “wrong” — what I am trying to relate here is that it is difficult to have a problem with the basic tenet of the Christian faith – at least for me. I do have “problems” with some of the adherents of the Christian faith, but Christianity – like any IPBS – has an inherent beauty to its structure, to its simple, basic form. I am not about to throw out that beauty over differences I may have with some of the individuals that chose to practice and believe it from a different perspective. That would mean that I deny the beauty of that faith in practice by many people I know. And I am not prepared to paint the followers of Christianity – or any other IPBS for that matter – with that broad of a brush.
Besides, when I boil everything back – any IPBS is merely our choice of how to relate to the world around us. The Christian faith sees the environment from a perspective of dominion…it is their to serve mankind and provided for them by their vision of Creator. Many nature-based IPBSs – including my own – see the environment as something we are a part of, something we work together with to live and survive. Just as we find our sustainability as a species from the environment, the environment also gains sustainability from us, when we work towards an equal balance. However, in the immortal words of Mako – that is another blog post….