All are Welcome!
"When your life is filed with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul!" - Rabbi Harold Kushner
RELIGION AND WORLD vIEW
In The Life of the Spirit and the Life of Today Evelyn Underhill writes:
"Hoeffding goes so far as to say that any real religion implies and must give us a world view……And to-day, that world-view, that spiritual landscape, must harmonize—if it is needed to help our living—with the outlook, the cosmic map of the ordinary man. If it be adequate, it will inevitably transcend this; but must not be in hopeless conflict with it. The stretched-out, graded, striving world of biological evolution, the many-faced universe of the physical relativist, the space-time manifold of the realist philosophy—these great constructions of human thought, so often ignored by the religious mind, must on the contrary be grasped, and accommodated to the world-view which centres on the God known in religious experience. They are true within their own systems of reference; and the soul demands a synthesis wide enough to contain them."
The world-view of the religion of my youth was quite simple, if you were not like us, you were damned. That stance bothered me then and still does, but now I better understand how it came into being. EfM (Education for Ministry) has been invaluable in introducing me to the issues that have helped shape the different branches of the Christian faith. With this introduction, I am better able to accept them for what they are and see how they have changed with time.
In the first creation story in Genesis, five times the phrase appears "..God saw that it was good." The sixth time, it reads "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." When I read the lines from Underhill’s book, I wondered how my personal religion, which is not something that I can leave at the doorstep of St. Luke’s, views all of God’s creation. My personal faith guides my response to God’s creation. I believe there is nothing that exists outside of what God allows and that God speaks through all creation, not just a few select writings. Certainly there are writings which have attained prominence because of their revelation of the sacred. But people have used even these writings to condemn others rather than to find their own salvation.
Over the years my scorn for those who condemn people that hold different beliefs has changed to a sort of sadness. They appear to be threatened by God’s creation; they have lost touch with the fact that it is very good. I have a saying that it is a blessing that all flowers are not yellow. I wonder what it would be like if the beliefs of the world could exist together, like flowers in a garden, each helping to bring out the beauty of the others through the wonderful contrasts they possess.
I appreciate Fr. Pat’s emphasis on mystery. Earlier in my life I sought to find the "magic" formula, so that I could be right, rather than attempt to understand others. I wanted to box God in so that I might put Him on the shelf, taking Him down only to show others the errors of their ways. The stories about the Pharisees have taught me about others who have sought to be right, to enjoy the sense of security that results from validation by a written law. That sort of life is easy to measure and interpret to one’s advantage. Then Jesus comes with His teachings that make me want to understand, to care about the plight of others and to validate myself through love, rather than the law. I can see why some even today choose the law over love. The law can be conditional where love is not. Yet I have found that while love asks for all, it gives even more in return.