Could there be a more controversial topic to begin with than religion?

That’s exactly why I chose it. I did say I would encourage you to think here! 🙂

And no, I am not here to proselytize you, though I’m sure you noticed in my sidebar the statement “I love God.” Which, I do. The lens by which I have viewed my faith has been Christianity.

Notice I said lens. Being a photographer I understand that what I see through the lens is only a part of what my natural eye can see once I remove my eye from the viewfinder. And the range of my natural eye is limited, because even with incredible peripheral vision it is impossible to have a 360 degree view of all that surrounds me. I have to be willing to look around, move my body, turn. Sometimes when I do that I see an amazing shot I would have missed if I had remained stationary, closed to seeing the larger view.

Which brings me to a personal observation about religion. I have experienced amazing openings within through religious experience. But sadly, I have also experienced great closure through religious experience and teaching too.

What is your first thought… thoughts, when you hear the word religion?

I spent many years in churches that used this phrase often: “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” And from there it was suggested in order to be in relationship with God there had to be action on your part- a walk to the altar, a profession of faith, a commitment to follow their doctrines.

In recent years I have stepped away from the lens of conservative Christianity to get a larger view. As a new college student at Temple University I am a religion major ( okay, go ahead, ask it….’What are you going to do with that?).  Just this. Learn, grow, find openings, and write.

I will continue this post on Thursday, and I’m hoping…. really hoping, a few of you will leave me a comment about your ideas of religion….positive or negative. I will share a bit of both from my experience, as well as elaborate on a bible verse which to me clearly indicates what Christ did not come to do- “lay burdens on people’s shoulders.”

Religion can be a tremendous tool for liberation. Yet it is also a tool for oppression. It’s up to us together, regardless of our personal beliefs, to have a dialogue and remain open to pushing beyond where we have been, especially when that includes marginalizing other people who are different from us.

Next week I will be introducing you to a man whose story brought me to tears as I left my college class last spring. A man who through his own painful epiphany worked the remainder of his life to bring change in this society. A man who worked to produce openings for others.

Thanks for joining me today! Looking forward to Thursday….




5 comments on “Religion

  1. Lisa Wilson says:

    I have always viewed religion as an introduction of basic human values. I am grateful for being brought up within the church, because I believe it is where I learned most of my compassion, empathy, and humility (I certainly didn’t learn that from my father!). However, as a teenager, it’s my job to question things, and that’s definitely what I’ve been doing lately. I’ve realized that trying to find the “right religion” right now just will not work for me, so I’ve decided to be a genuinely good person until the right one pops up.

    • Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts! I am glad the church and its teaching has had such a positive impact on your life. You are right, the true message is all about how we treat others. Asking questions isn’t just for teenagers, by the way, I do that now!
      You are a very wise young woman who wants to remain open to all the possibilities- good for you! Sorry to hear your Dad hasn’t been a good example, but happy you are striving to treat others well yourself. We learn from everything in this life, especially the hard things.
      Love to you!

  2. Cynthia says:

    My son, Isaiah, once asked me this question: Mom, how do you know you have the right truth? If your born in a christian home or buddist home or some thing else, and that’s all you heard your whole life, how do you know you have the truth? What if your wrong? All I can say is, my life has never been the same since I was called to walk this walk. Every thing I ever heard from the pulpit was blown out of the water by a man who died for me. His love has shown me that I have had religion, religious beliefs and because of his love for me, he has given me a new outlook on things. I don’t do what others do, yet I find favor with my God. He has blessed me with so much, I know he is real. Relationship? How can you not have that with some one who constantly affirms you and shows you that he will never put on you what others try to do. I can trust the man who died for me. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? yes. Even in the pain, I know he will be the one who helps me to over come. May I never stop seeing and hearing the words: walk this way. Will others understand? Will others think I am strange? It doesn’t matter to me what others think, I have only one who really understands, I can trust the man who died for me.

  3. Amber says:

    Religion…a word that, in recent years, I have very much shied away from. I view it almost as I do some of my ex-boyfriends: I know that somewhere, there are some good parts to it. But overall, I can’t help but to feel this overwhelming sense of negativity. Growing up in a religious household, I was lucky enough to never have it forced upon me. However, as I have gotten older and have had a few very negative experiences with certain religious groups, I don’t necessarily want much to do with it. I have always said that I look at life through a lens of spirituality, rather than “religiousness.”

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