Friday, November 27, 2009

Oil and Vinegar

"This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples;
no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart
is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness."
-The Dalai Lama


This spoke to me. Deeply. Mostly because lately I have been feeling like I am oil and organized religion is vinegar. I am stuck, dense and viscious at the bottom of the jar very much liking the separation.

Sometimes I think we make everything harder for ourselves. We feel the need to dig deeper, get more philisophical, find more fault in ourselves. I wonder if this is the way it's supposed to be. I am always one to question what others are doing. I don't know why because I am not a leader. Nor am I a follower. For the most part, I try very hard to avoid that which everyone else is obsessed with. Take Twilight for example. The whole female population of North America, save a few, is voraciously devouring every word of this series and then running out and seeing the movies as soon as they come out. Me? Not so much. And don't get me wrong, religion and faith are in no way comparable to this example other than my reaction to it.

My own observations have led me to the conclusion that organized religion creates more stress and complication and in the end I question whether it gets any closer to being the kind of people God wants us to be. Sometimes, it appears to me that all the rules and regulations imposed by these "faiths" creates more judgment than anything else. I don't think that is the intention but as humans, we are flawed and judgement is one of those inherent flaws. Why add fuel to that fire?

Someone once said to me, "Kindness is my religion." The irony is how that friendship ended but that's the thing, you may not remain friends but you learn something from each and every person you have a relationship with.

So right now my focus is on improving me. Being a kinder person to my family and friends. Stregthening the relationships. Forging new ones. Reaching out no matter that I may get hurt.

Because each person I encounter, is an encounter with God. And I honestly believe that God doesn't care what religion, faith or denomination you are, He only cares about the kind of person you are.

These are my beliefs. Please respect them as I respect yours.

19 comments:

anna-b-boknkers said...

Oh KAmi, you are so smart!
I understand this so well! Especially since i have been digging deeper, not in finding fault in myself but in knowing God. But you are right judgmentalism is closely tied to religion and when it come down to it we are called to love and that is showing kindness.
I love you!

Cheryl said...

I agree 100% with you...and you are one of the kindest people I know.

Angella said...

If by "organized religion", you mean in institution such as the Catholic Church which is all about rules and well, religion, I totally agree. That's not what the bible teaches about church.

God intended a church to be a place where you get together with people who also believe in God and whom you can add as part of your extended family. Our church here is like that and our lives have been richly blessed because of it.

Also to note - God hates religion too. That's why Jesus got mad and turned over the tables in the Temple. :)

Jen said...

100% agree! Great post Kami. :)

Amy said...

My dad wrote the following in a letter to his mom a few years ago:

I wanted to tell you that a big part of my renewal has been your example to me. You have always made God a central part of your life, without losing the simplicity of uncluttered faith and love. That sort of innocence used to intimidate me, because I needed to justify all the rationalization and theology I was into. But I now look at your faith with a good kind of envy. And I’m thankful that God doesn’t scold me too harshly for trying to add to His word so much.

Simplicity. Uncluttered faith. Love.

My dad died a year ago this coming Tuesday, but I'm still learning from him. Our spiritual lives are a journey, Kami.

God didn't create religion, but it does have it's place. The family. The fellowship. I know those things please him.

Anonymous said...

I like to think you are not running out to see Twilight for you look at your husband and he is just as good as Mr Lautner.

Love can be deceiving that way.

Loukia said...

You make some good points, absolutely. I've always been Greek Orthodox, and my religion is a huge part of who I am... not that I'm a regular church-goer - but I believe in prayer and in my faith, and I respect everyone else's faith and beliefs as well, too.

Debbie said...

Ah, religion. One of my favourite topics, but one I rarely get to discuss for fear of offending.

I am, by nature, a questioner. I'm lucky to have a pastor who encourages it. We even had a guest preacher who was a rabbi the other week. Shocking! (tongue planted firmly in cheek)

It's too bad that what is supposed to be a community with a similar spiritual outlook has moved so far from that ideal to be almost unrecognizable.

3LittleMonkeys said...

AMEN!

R Royal Family said...

Well said Kami! Your view on things one of the many reasons you are so awesome :-)

Anonymous said...

Kami, my religion has always been positive thinking. If you begin each day with a positive attitude you get positive results. Greet people with a smile and you will get a smile in return. I find that the happier I am the happier people are around me. I don't want to sound like a bunch of cliches but the truth is when I stop, and you must stop yourself,and honestly think about the situation before you react and see how easy a solution will come to you. I find that we react before we think (which is quite normal for busy moms)and we forget about the big picture. Great post.
ML

Karen MEG said...

Kami, this was such a thought-provoking post. I don't talk much about religion - or think too much about it, although I am Catholic, I haven't been to church in ages, well, really since my Dad's funeral, and then only a couple of masses in his name. It's complicated, as so much of life is. But I agree with your words, here, my friend. About kindness and just being a nicer person in general, something I think I could work at myself these days...

David D. (Natalie's husband) said...

A religious leader of the day, an expert in God's law asked Jesus which of God's laws is the greatest, obviously trying to trip him up, as they were trying to find a reason to arrest Him. Jesus answered him with one of my favorite quotes from the Bible, and a very simple teaching: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it - Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

The problem that churches or any religions have today is, it seems, they are trying to please God on their own terms. The whole point is it is supposed to be a relationship with Jesus that gets us where we need to go in life. And the only way to build any relationship is communication, commitment and love. Religion is man's attempt to get to God. True Christianity (without man attempting to help out) is God reaching down to man.

One last thing (I know this is pretty long, and I apologize)...

Ephesians 2:1-10 (in The Message) says: "It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."

It is supposed to be a lot simpler than what we make it, but that is just us humans for you...

I hope this helped in some way...

Anonymous said...

perhaps you now understand why i did not have my last 2 children baptised...i too questioned where God required a certain religion, or was just belief in him enough...i chose the latter...L

Jen Wilson said...

SO WELL WRITTEN!!!! You know, it says in the Bible that God hates religion. I'm not a fan either. You and I have had these chats and I've really enjoyed when we share our views - I completely respect and appreciate yours, and I know you do the same for me.

Feels great to write it all out though, hey?

Ed said...

You and I are alike in many ways, Kami. Well, except for you're a girl and I'm not.

I think we all spend quite a bit of our lives searching. Sometimes we even forget what we're searching for. I suppose though that our faith is what sustains us during the trip.

Here's to your journey!

Oh, and for the record, I've got to believe that God is pretty pleased with the person you already are.

Elaine A. said...

I've been struggling with some of this as of late myself. We are church-going Catholics but that is about all we do these days. Since we moved it's actually gotten harder because we cannot find a church we like and I want to get Katie baptized but I'm just not feelin' it these days.

I believe we all have our own relationship with God or whatever we believe in, and that is truly THE most important thing and that each person should foster that relationship however they feel is the best way for them.

And I agree, He certainly cares what kind of people we are more than anything else...

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I always explain my issues with organized religion around these things: rules made by MEN based upon words that (though they "may" be inspired by God) have been edited by politicians. Let's take the books from religions with a grain or two of salt, shall we?

I understand, hon. I am spiritual, not religious.

teeni said...

I too have pondered these same thoughts that you have and come up with much the same conclusions if we can call them that. I wholeheartedly agree that some aspects of religion just make people more apt to judge each other and that really should not be the aim. I love that you can express what I feel so precisely and kindly. Thanks for expressing yourself because I now know that I am not alone and it seems like many of your readers are also of the same mind. Hugs to you, my friend. :)