Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who Needs God? I have Religion!

When I was young, what seems both so very long ago and just a moment away, my memories of going to Church are of Easter Lilies.  The vivid rich green of the leaves set  as a sweeping background to the majestic white and new green of the flower.  In the spring, these flowers dressed the sanctuary and seemed to capture the attention of a little boy with attention problems so very well.  I can't tell you what the sermons were about, the text readings, and I don't even remember the Pastors.  But, I remember those beautiful flowers; they are my memories of childhood in religion, when I was yet innocent.

  These next images are my adulthood, my nightmares, of men standing in the very white of purity, calling themselves men of God, looking down upon the masses in impunity and hate.  Where Jesus is recorded as telling men to love their neighbor, those who now say they are speaking for him call out damnation and violence.    Who are these men?  Why do they hate people so much? How could they do this?
  It is an easy mistake to look upon targets of opportunity, people of difference, and presume that beating upon them makes one powerful, wise, above them.  It is an easy mistake to presume that such things are without cost, without consequence.  But, in life, there is always someone, somewhere who is bigger, more powerful. 

I want to go back to the church of my youth.  I want that innocence back.  I want to return to the hard folding metal chairs and cheap off-blue carpeting when I dressed in my Sunday Best to sit with my feet swinging in the air and dream of what God must be as I stared into the perfection of that Lily flower.  It seems a time long gone now, when I feel so sad and tired after reading stories like this: http://scottiestoybox.com/2013/07/29/russian-neo-nazi-groups-tricking-and-torturing-gay-male-teenagers-the-blood-is-on-putins-hands-july-25-2013-the-gaily-grind/
  That, I guess, is the charm of childhood.  To live in awe of the magical and wonderful things of life like Santa Clause, and think that no one could be more powerful than my Dad.        
I wonder what kids think about in church now when the preachers go on and on, beyond their ability to focus or understand?  I wonder if they see those flowers or look up and see the Cross and contemplate a God Who Loves, or a God Who Hates?