I'm pretty sure there is a God. I'm also confident Jesus was a special person that had a huge impact on humankind. He seems to have lived a noble life we can learn from.
That's my take on the institution that is religion, those three sentences.
I don't go to church, I'm not concerned with how the Red Sea parted. It's irrelevant to me whether Jesus rose still in his body, or died and his soul took the path the rest of us will take eventually. I still think he was incredibly kind and wonderful even if he actually just found some more fish and bread and never healed anyone. I don't think it matters.
Some of the stories in The Bible are intricate weavings of symbols and moral lessons and while I certainly have not read the whole thing, I get the gist. What I have read, I don't take literally. That, of course, is my choice and I respect those with different beliefs and people that study and have faith. Faith is powerful and I think whatever works for a person is great, so long as what is working for you doesn't have to work for me too.
I believe organized religion, in general, is about as corrupt and manipulative as our biggest corporations. It's a huge money maker, it is too big, and has too much power. Humankind is sectioned off into the chosen and the left behind, good, better and best, based on factors determined by the self anointed. I prefer to look at my spirituality and connection to something greater than myself on a smaller scale.
I believe God works more like a local farmer than a Walmart.
I think he (I'll go with "he" because that's how God is usually referenced, and here again, I don't think God's gender really matters.) works through people, home grown, organic, hard working, rich and poor people. It's the people I have encountered, mostly by chance, that have turned out to be my greatest spiritual teachers and this planet we live on is more remarkable than any stained glass I have ever seen. I feel like God would use every thing and every one he has at his disposal to teach or show us how to live. He really doesn't feel like a limiting, obsessive, rule guy to me.
Currently, my spin teacher is my pastor/priest/teacher. Her name is Jinger and she wears spandex, knee socks, braids and a bandana. Her class is filled with the best butt moving music and while she's pushing us past where we think we can go, she reminds us to "Be kind to one another, stop judging." and asks us to "Let go of what you are carrying so you can be ready for whatever else is coming through that door, because you know it's coming." I work hard, I laugh, I release the negative and I learn. I'm tired and kinder and a better me when I leave her class.
Pretty sure God likes that, and thinks what Jinger does for people is fantastic, dare I say, divine. He doesn't care what religion she is, that she plays the song Work Bitch, or if she's saying everything by the book. I think he's proud of the work she does and the people she touches. I also think he appreciates the body strength and energy her place of sweaty worship promotes.
There are so many people in our world with such tremendous gifts and a glowing sense of purpose. They are not all wearing white or gilded in gold. They are children, teenagers and adults. They do not stand behind boxes and shout about intolerance and how the world is going to crap. They don't scare and intimidate. They kick ass and inspire.
I saw a picture yesterday. It was taken following The Pope's big address and showed him kissing and blessing a disfigured man. The look on The Pope's face was...I teared up. It was an image of one man easing another. I'm sure he was holding this man's weight for just a moment and asking God for mercy every way he knew how. It was touching.
This new pope runs the huge conglomerate that is the Catholic Church, but he seems like a humble man and they are lucky to have him. Even though he is in fact cloaked and wearing gold, I suspect he's another local farmer.
My thoughts from the laundry room. The Stars are Out.