We’re all surrounded by keys, will you use them?
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Let’s bring a virtue to the foreground: Integrity.
We see a trend in many establishments: In the police force, officers that thwart the safety of the people they serve. We see it in schools, Teachers with the role of educating students, unknowingly add to miseducation in key areas like history. The Church is not exempted from those who may also swerve from their organization’s mission.
What’s the intended mission?
A wise buddhist once said there are three basic concepts pertaining to religion:
- The Spiritual path
- The Religious practices
- The Religious Institution.
I’d like to believe that the intention behind the creation of religion, among other reasons, was to assist in developing our spiritual path. And this is done through the practices of that religion: strategies of repetition, self-reflection, social togetherness and emphasising moral teachings. I would say, the intention is good. Looking with unbiased eyes on a congregation of believers, you can see people coming together trying to improve themselves, trying to do the ‘right’ thing in the eyes of their god and trying to attain happiness in this life.
We can identify that spiritual development is not merely a superstition but a great human need. It is largely unavoidable — the spirit is continually being developed. As long as we breathe on this small dot in the universe, we are longing to experience the things that make our hearts leap, that is, to find spiritual satiety.
Our world religions are a dominant voice for the unexplainable, the unobservable, and rightly so, we have a lot to attribute to religion on how our world view is shaped, arguably, whether incorrectly or not.
Now, as the body of worshippers grows, there arises a need for order, for routine, for rules and leaders, to ensure a smooth functioning unit — that is, Religion as an institution. This is done with any other institution — and entails the logistics of money, consequences, formalities etc.
I say this to say, THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR SPIRIT, is the core of why religions were created. However, the core is often lost amongst trying to conform to the logistics.
A religion that reverses or retards spiritual growth is a religion that needs rechecking.
Not forgetting — whether you are religious or not — we all create a religion for ourselves, our ‘private morality’, rules we live by or the cages we build in our mind, that sometimes works against our own inner growth.
Religion offers many tools, however, it is easy to be satisfied with being in the vicinity of these tools while not actually using them consciously to do work within. This is probably why doctrines of love, forgiveness and ‘everything nice’ are scattered all throughout christianity, yet Gandhi can make such an observation as above. The teachings’ intention may be to help, but again, without consciously targeting one’s spiritual path — we are left only at the surface with ‘the divine mind left totally uncultivated’ — hearing but not truly hearing, seeing but not seeing at all.
To the church goer:
An entrance into a building cannot change you, if at home you remain in old habits. It does not matter how many church conferences you go to, how many crusades you preach, how many choirs you sing in or musical renditions you perform, it matters WHO YOU ARE inside.
The question becomes, how are you working on the man/woman inside?
There is a self-examination that is easily missed while caught up in checking off the requirement of ‘going to church’ and carrying out churchly duties.
- Do you find it hard to apologize when you were wrong?
- Are you overly reactive, losing control of your emotions like anger, fear and jealousy?
- Are you constantly comparing and competing with your neighbour and jealous of their advancement?
- Are you projecting your own life disappointments onto your children?
- Are you aware of your own ego and its coping mechanisms?
- Are you experiencing a moment of connection outside of church?
- Are you forgiving and understanding of the mistakes of others?
- Are you working on your habits in effective communication, hasty judgement of others or automatic prejudices?
- Are you vigilant to catch yourself when you gossip?
- Are you constantly wishing well for others, realising that a win for them is a win for you?
- Are you genuine with your kindness, no strings attached?
- Are you aware of your negative thoughts?
- Are you actively addressing your inferiority and superiority complexes?
Without a development of your character at a core-level, isn’t going to church merely a facade?
Written by: Judaja Prescott