Beginning the Trek: The Lucan Tradition
Posted by Frith on 1/18/2009, 1:01 am, in reply to "The Right Life: Basic Lessons"
I am very picky about nearly everything---okay, I admit it, I am a perfectionist. Over the years, I have examined a lot of different religions and spiritual philosophies, including many Christian faiths; but each one has serious shortcomings that bother me. I invariably come away frustrated, saying to myself, "I like what this group stands for, but I don't much care for this or that..." Or "I can't quite bring myself to believe that what they're claiming is true..." Or "...that stuff is too rigid, or too wierd, for my tastes..." |
So, in each case, because I dislike one or two things about a religion, I end up tossing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and moving on to try something else. This has been going on for my entire adult life, and I have yet to find the perfect faith. But, you know what? I am now beginning to see the problem: there is no "perfect' faith. I am just being too picky. I'm like the guy who keeps looking for a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, when what I should be doing is enjoying the rainbow.
But here's the thing. If I feel strongly that I would like to be a part of some religion, but there is no perfect one, what to do? Seems like there are about two choices: either (1) go with the one that's only partly perfect, and just learn to put up with the unsavory parts of it; or (2) invent my own, borrowing bits and pieces from the religions I like and discarding the parts I don't like.
To be honest, I really haven't decided which way would be best.
But, in the interim, what I have come up with is a way that combines option (1) with option (2). The idea is this:. Invent a religion that is "closely aligned" with the established religion, or religions, of my choice, but in a way that allows the freedom to move either more toward those other religions over time, or further away from them. If my fellow travelers and I should find ourselves gradually moving closer and closer toward, let's say, the Mormon Church, then we might simply choose to abandon our do-it-yourself faith altogether and join the LDS Church. If we start moving further away from it, then what the heck? We just keep on with our own thing, and leave those folks behind.
I mention the Mormons because I like what they stand for, and also what the Catholics stand for as well. Not everything about them, mind you---just the fundamental tenets of their respective value systems: strong emphasis on the traditional family, on doing good in the world, and on the appreciation of beauty, the arts, and nature. I also admire the emphasis both of them put on doing things the way people used to do them (i.e. tradition)...over the clumsy, crazy way our society is trying to do things today.
A lot of people you talk to will say they have their "own" religion...which usually means they hate organized religion. That is not the case at all with myself. I love Christianity. I grew up going to church. But I have always had my own way of perceiving Christ. In a nutshell, Jesus, as I imagine him, was a soft-spoken, humble man; a beautiful, wise person; a liberal thinker; a caring, loving person; and like a big brother to his followers. And I'm only talking about Jesus, the living, breathing man. Never mind, for now, his other role as the Son of God (or God himself, or whatever). Jesus, the man I would love to call my best friend, would have used common sense, compassionate and wisdom in every decision, whether having to do with relationships among people or relationships among nations.
My vision of Christ happens to be distinctly more aligned with the Catholic and LDS churches than with any of the Protestant evangelical movements. And that is why I consider myself a cotraveler with BOTH the Catholics and the Mormons. My "own" religion (which is not just talk but rather something that is already down in writing) follows their teachings closely. Do I have questions about whether the prophet Joseph Smith and his how-ever-many wives actually found evidence of Jesus in America? Sure I do. Do I question the Pope's being essentially the dictator over a billion followers and over the same church that burned heretics at the stake during the Inquisition? Sure I do. That's why I haven't run out and converted. But that doesn't change my love for their value systems and the good things they do in the world. Like I say, perfection does not exist. But unbridled perfectionism can be a dead-end as well.
I will stop here for now. But, perhaps, your having read this far suggests that you, like I, are looking for a better approach to Christianity. My "own" religion, once again, is not just a pipe-dream; it actually does exist for me. I practice it every day. And, in fact, it exists on paper and even has a name: The Lucan Tradition of Saints. If anything I have said here has struck a chord with you and you would like to follow along for a while to discover more about what I am up to, please feel free to contact me at OkC, or wherever you ran across me. Or you can email be at frith--gvtc--com (you know what symbols to use).
If you live near me, I would love to stroll the paths, along creek and through meadow, and chat about it. Or, if not, there's a lot to be had online as well. You are invited to be one of my fellow travelers I spoke of. In any case, I certainly do appreciate your interest in reading this far. Thanks.
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