Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right Or Wrong Or Right

I have been listening to Oprah on XM again. Driving, listening, thinking. Oprah was talking to Reverend Ed Bacon, the rector at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. They were discussing reconciling your faith with the "new age" philosophies on spirituality, spirit, etc. It was a great discussion in which Rev. Bacon and Oprah talked about the attacks on Oprah for her focus on the book "The New Earth", her support of "A Course In Miracles", and the exploration of spirituality vs. traditional Christian doctrine. If you have not heard, there is a movement of extremists that are branding Oprah as The AntiChrist. You can catch up here.

I would love to attend any church that had Rev. Bacon as a leader. His words were so true and he seemed to understand the confusion of all who are questioning their belief systems. It doesn't mean they are losing their faith, only that they wish to understand further. I have always been a searcher. I think Oprah is too. My mother was a searcher. It doesn't mean you don't believe in God, Jesus, or the Bible. It sometimes means you do choose to believe something else but not always.

I dearly love my brother-in-law. He is one of the best guys I know. He loves my sister and their two boys and he searches for ways to be a better husband, better father, better person every day. But I cannot talk about religion with him. So I don't. But it is his favorite subject so sometimes it is unavoidable. Like a few months ago when he and my sister were coming through town and we met for lunch. It was the day after the Unitarian Church shooting, my church. So as we discussed the tragedy, he listened quietly. Then he hesitantly asked me "What exactly do Unitarians believe?"

I explained that there was no doctrine, that they were all on their own spiritual path, discovering together what they believed, learning from each other. I explained the history of the church, traditionally Christian, and that many of the founding fathers of our country were Unitarians. I shared that many Unitarians follow Christian traditions and believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Others believe that Jesus was an amazing man, a prophet that changed the world, but not of divine birth.

As I would share something, he would quote from the bible with a verse showing why that was wrong. He never said it was wrong, only what the bible said. He asked what I believed about heaven and hell and I said I didn't know and that it didn't really matter because none of us can truly know all the answers. He shared his belief and that he was absolutely certain that he was right. He quoted Bible verses to tell me why he was right. I told him I wish that I had his faith in what he believes but I don't.

I have immense respect for those that are completely sure of their beliefs. But I can not stand someone trying to "change" mine. I love to discuss religion and I love to learn. I take issue with people trying to convert me. Educate me please then allow me to make my own decision.

So as I listened to Oprah and Rev. Bacon, it came to me why my brother-in-law, so wonderful in every area of life, gets under my skin when it comes to religion.

He believes he is right and I am wrong. I believe I am right and so is he.

I somehow feel better now that I know this. I think I will handle these discussions with him better in the future. Or maybe I'll just continue to avoid it.


Ruth D~ said...

Always stay true to your beliefs . . . let them change if they do, but until then . . . they are yours.

I know exactly how you feel, and the same blog could be written for political beliefs as well. I will listen, I will think, I will question . . . but don't tell me I'm wrong. That's my call.

Good post (as usual)

Tere said...

I totally agree Ruth. In this episode I was listening to, Dr. Bacon said people who do this are coming from a place of fear. I think this applies to politics also.

Wanda said...

I agree with Ruth too...

I am solid in my faith.... have been growing stronger all my adult life.... but I don't try to convert anyone.... Not my job.

My job is living it and being the kind of human being you would like to be around and so we could talk about everything and smile and say Hey, wasn't this conversation fun.


Tere said...

Wanda - I can tell how solid your faith is and you are so gracious about it. I think you are truly living what you believe and it comes through in your writing and the acts of kindness that you practice daily. I greatly admire you.