Posted by: dacalu | 29 March 2014

Hijacking Religion

Religions, like planes, can be hijacked. I can’t be certain where Christianity was headed 2000 years ago, or even where it was headed 500 years ago, but when I boarded the plane, it was aimed at increasing love between people, helping each of us as flawed individuals help all of us – as flawed individuals. And yes, I consciously got on board. I joined the Episcopal Church officially at the age of 2, but I’m an adult now and I had a choice to stay or leave. I studied Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Taoism in college. I even got a degree in comparative religion. And then I chose Christianity. In seminary, I thought long and hard about the particular vehicle I had chosen and I chose it again. I would even say I fell in love with the people in the Anglican tradition, both past and present. And yes, there really is something about Christianity that says we are fallen individuals in need of God’s grace. That’s not about disempowering us – it is about stopping the ego ride that makes helping people so much harder. It’s about letting go of the fear of failure and pride in success, so that you can keep your eyes on the prize of, wait for it, actually helping people.

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My plane has been hijacked. I mean that for the full metaphor it is, because I think there are pilots flying us in the wrong direction. I think they are perfectly willing to crash my religion into someone else’s building in the hope of – well in the hope of I don’t know what. Somehow they think a world with explosions in it is better… This makes no sense to me.
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I will be honest. The more I study the history of Christianity, indeed the history of the world, the more I recognize that the story isn’t so simple. Apparently there has been a struggle in the cockpit throughout recorded history. It’s true of my plane and it’s true of other planes out there as well. The world is a dangerous place. We all wish we could just get on a train-track and head straight to our destination, but the truth is trains can be hijacked as well. And some destinations are on the other side of an ocean (see grace, above).
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So here I am, fighting for control of the plane. And no, violence is not the answer, because blowing up the plane means no-one gets where they are going. And, by the way, there are people below. So you have to do your best to convince the people on board to turn the plane around, or keep going in the same direction, or sometimes just calm down enough to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.
People ask me why I’m so impressed with Pope Francis. I’m impressed because I think we actually have someone competent to steer for a while. I’m impressed because he gets people moving in the right direction without violence and without anger. Is it enough to get us where we’re going? Probably not. There will always be hijackers and there will always be debates about where the plane should go. And, we need to start right now training other pilots. But, for the moment, I’m glad to know that in some small way, Christianity is headed in the right direction.

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Responses

  1. Thank you! that’s expressed perfectly


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