Letters to Jesus (Church, Religion, and Sacraments)-3
The salient points of almost all thoughts and discussions of the spiritual life, and of our relationship with God, flow through some kind of organized belief-system to which we have been (at least initially) exposed.
It is fascinating to see how, not just within Christianity but within organized religion in general, different interpretations complicate spirituality in the guise of simplifying it. Sects and schisms within Islam; orthodox, conservative, and reform Judaism; and a myriad of Christian sects, each proclaiming something insightful that is exclusively theirs. This, of course, often foments misunderstanding, intolerance, isolation, and even conflict. Yet in all of them there is a sincerity of intent – a desire for a way to connect with God. For one immersed in a particular belief-system it is a huge challenge to comprehend and accept the good in all other systems.
Within Christianity, it seems to me, the purest, most elementary solution to the confusion of sectarianism is an in-depth scrutiny of thelife and words of the One from whom our religion’s name is derived.
If Catholicism and all its geographical, ethnic, and orthodox manifestations were swept away; if every branch of Protestantism and reformed Christianity never had come to be; and if every form of cultic spiritual enlightenment had never evolved, we would, in You, still have the movement from which all of these grew. Your life and all You taught is really all we need.
Is it not true that we call ourselves Christian because we believe in the life and teachings of Christ? And in scripture we have a documented record of just what that is. Instead of measuring our practice and belief against what a religion or belief-system says, maybe we should measure that religion or belief-system against the actions and teachings of Your life as found in the gospels. Pretty much everything we need to know, even in the contemporary world, can be found there. The denominations, sects, and cults of organized belief-systems are attempts at connecting with God in a variety of ways. We are either born into or we select one or more of them as we go along. It is inevitably human to connect with others who are also seeking to connect. This is all part of the journey. What might benefit us most in this seeking is an ability to determine which one adheres best to the way we are to live life as found in Your life and teachings.