12.22.2005

Distilling Religion at Panera Bread

I was at the blog meetup and I spoke with Chosen Fast, Billy the Blogging Poet, and Connecting the Dots. We talked about Christianity or something like it. Listening to Sean, Michelle, and myself (Billy wisely just listened) I felt as though we were talking past each other. Michelle has a heart for the poor. Sean said he had problems with Christianity's hierarchical structure but it seemed to me that he had more problems with western civilization in its current iteration (and past ills) than he did with Christianity. Me, I tended to sometimes agree with Michelle and sometimes with Sean but I felt like I was talking too much without saying anything meaningful to them. What I need is a distilled Christianity, one not so dependant on theological concepts like original sin, and miracles. Not that those things aren't important to me but they carry little weight with the uninitiated. So here are the most important verses to me. This from the Gospel of Thomas saying number 6

1His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"
2Jesus said, "Don't lie, 3 and don't do what you hate, 4because all things are disclosed before heaven. 5After all, there is nothing hidden that won't be revealed, 6 and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed."


This from the Bible Matthew 22:34-40 Jesus is here quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’


Or how about this one from the Hebrew Scriptures Micah 6:8

8He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

1 comment:

spcoon said...

hey juan. you know, last night's conversation was refreshing, as i don't get many chances to speak with devout christians. check that, i don't get many chances to speak with devout christians *about* christianity.

while you're spot on about my disdain for hierarchy, the real thing that bugs me about religion is the ceremony of it all. each of the verses you quoted breaks down to being a good person, respecting and helping others and following what it is you love to do *while* recognizing a power greater than yourself is behind life's steering wheel.

for *me*, i don't feel the need to assign a name, face or a religion to that concept.

'til the next time we meet up. ;)

-sean