Exclusivity. We are in a world of exclusivity. History is scarred with it and its ramifications. Wars are fought because of it. It occurs under other names like prejudice or in groups it can be seen as ethnic cleansing. Evidence of it even exists in the fossil record. Nature itself is exclusive, though not driven by emotional or moral constraints. If you don’t have what it takes to survive in a certain environment then guess what.
Perhaps it is a defense mechanism in humans. If we did not think ourselves better or superior in some way to everyone else around us perhaps we would not be able to face another day with ourselves. We ignore our shortcomings, minimize and try to hide our deepest flaws. In those things that we think ourselves good, we prefer to think we are very very good. We are the little girl with the little curl right in the middle of our forehead.
Organized religion is a victim of this thinking, and it attracts some people who like to think this way. There are those who erroneously think they have led a pristine and unblemished life and those in contrast who need and want to think better of themselves. They are the ones who have fallen to depths they never thought possible . They seek exoneration wanting to be able to live with themselves. Expecting and hoping to somehow be lifted up to join the ranks of the exclusive. My hope is that they remember where they have come from and might be able to change the hierarchy, but it seldom does.
I can understand the frustration some people have with religion. It is frustrating to be like the little child by the road with the emperor strutting naked with all his lumps and bumps on display pretending to be clothed in the finest.
I don’t know how to stop it. I just need to try and stop it in me as best as I can.
I went to church as a child. I learned all their rules. It was easy to recite what everyone wanted to hear. Do a. b. c. and d. pass go, and collect $200.00. Memorize what was considered to be “the word of God” , sing songs, learn the stories, and hope somehow that “He” was going to let you into the secret society that humans made sure you felt like you did not deserve. Grace was not discussed because it might just get your hopes up.
But as it turns out “He” was never the one guarding the gate. It was man alone with his need for exclusivity.
I helped make the mess. And I repent of it. I think I have misrepresented the man known as Jesus. I appreciate what the men who were his disciples conveyed about HIm to us, but often I find too much opinion and too little fact. The accounts of Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke seem the most plausible for me. I see a man that embodies what he says he is bringing – good news and acceptance. He treats outcasts and kings the same way. He eats with the sinners and touches untouchables. When on the cross I truly believe when he spoke and said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” and that he included me in that plea. And I am grateful to accept his petition on my behalf. I don’t know what I am doing, nor what I have been doing for 57 years.
There as a marriage last weekend and a death 18 weeks ago. They stand is such stark contrast there is no way to wrap my mind around it. Such an abrupt ending, such a well planned and anticipated beginning, woven together with threads of family and friends.
I am rebounding from the incredible joy wishing with all my heart that our son had been there to make the event that much more joyful. I am dizzy from the pendulum’s swing.
I have prayed for years for both of my children. I prayed for safety, for health, for wisdom. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I wanted them to be in the exclusive club where everything they touched turned to gold . I wanted everything to be easy for them and the world to turn as they passed by, realizing they were in the presence of greatness.
Father forgive them they know not what they do, should have been my one and only prayer all along and I pray it now for the world itself too.
My son rebelled against the hypocrisy, but he loved me anyway, for that alone I think he deserves a reward. He wanted so badly to believe in something, as do I and I hope he reached up and grabbed whatever he needed in the end and that he was embraced with joy. He commented on our faith and for what it was worth appreciated how adamantly we stuck to our beliefs trying in our feeble way to practice them.
I see the love that has begun between my daughter and her husband. I see the hope and expectation that they have for themselves and their future. I pray for wisdom for them. It is the best I can do. Their exclusivity should only be in relation to each other as husband and wife, to be able to rest in the reassurance that their love might mirror what God feels for them.
I don’t think Jesus ever meant to start some sort of exclusive club, rather I think he meant to break down all the walls. I think he meant to destroy every barrier that man ever built against man. I trust God to forgive me even in this if I am incorrect. I trust that God is not an exclusive God as men would have him be. I have to think that or I can’t think about God at all anymore and maybe this is just me being exclusive towards Him. I’m asking you, Father please forgive me, the fact is, I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not sure I ever did.