Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Matter of Religion

Sometimes I feel as if I wander in and out of theological market places. It's hard to accept the discrepancy between the words mouthed by people and the actions either not taken or taken by religious groups. I am increasingly dismayed by the clashes between sects, the lip service given to loving your neighbor, the rhetoric which pits one ideology against another ideology.

At first I felt comfortable in a Christian Church and then my level of discomfort, like an itch spread until I found myself erupting in welts. How could the thought of a loving God be translated into a disregard for the rights of the minority, or blithely stomping over the line separating state and church.

My religion, I realize, is an amalgamation—a non-creedal affirmation of life, of the I and Thou Martin Buber wrote of, of qualities of Buddhism, of the teachings of Jesus, of the Talmudic writings and of the Hasidic writings, of the grandeur seen at the top of a mountain, or in the bloom of a lone flower, of the grace I see everyday, of the writer who touches me and makes me alive to the world, of the artist, musician, of the seeker.

I'm impatient. Some people see themselves as right when they kill those whose doctrinal interpretations differ. In some cases the death is actual, bloody and spiraling out of control. In some cases the killing is done with words, with placards, with legislation.

Bless each person who acknowledges that the universe may be viewed with differing lenses. How, if we grant an omnipotent God, can we assume that God has selected only one way for people to view the universe? And why does a belief in a God make a person good? Goodness, it seems, can't be measured by a creed.

I wipe my feet, respectful of those who live out their religious beliefs, and saddened by the rhetoric of those who think that by yelling louder and longer the truth belongs to the creed inked on their placard.