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….