Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tolerance ... Religion and Things Spiritual ...


Many years ago, Gandhi (perhaps Humanities greatest soul) was turned away from a Christian prayer meeting because of the colour of his skin ...

Many years later Gandhi told a Hindu man who came to him feeling guilty for his part in Religiously motivated killings that the man should find Muslimn child and raise that child as a Muslim and in the process be the best Hindu that he could be ...

Today in Minnesota, an election campaign is marked by anti-Muslim slurs against one of the candidates who is a follower of Islam and a proud American. He has been compared to Bin Laden and others ...

Today throughout the world Religious hatred and animosity continues to boil over into violence, that claims lives, destroys communities and profoundly disrupts lives ...

Many, many years ago a young man wanted to learn the Torah (the Law of God), he went to his Rabbi in his village and asked the Rabbi to teach him the whole of the Torah. The Rabbi was delighted until the young man said - "I want you to teach it to me while I stand here on one foot ..."

"Iimpossible!!!" the Rabbi shrieked, "Such a thing requires years and years of study and dedication. And even then, you only know a tiny portion of the Torah ..." The rabbi then drove the young man from his home and ultimately from the village ...

For many years, the young man wandered, looking for the answer to his question. At each village he would ask the Rabbi, and in turn each Rabbi would drive him away howling with outrage at the young man's question ...

But one glorious day, the young man stood on the doorstep of the great sage Hillel. He posed the question to Hillel and the rabbi smiled and stroked his beard before speaking ...

"Young man," said the sage, "this thing you ask me is easy. The whole of the Torah. The Whole of the Law of our God is simply this: "that which is hurtful to another, you do not do - EVER." All the rest is merely commentary ..."

A Century later a wandering Galilean Rabbi nameed Yeshua, took Hillel's teaching and altered it slightly ... It has come down to us in the Church as: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ..."

Wisdom exists in many forms ... God has given us many voices to convey those life-altering teachings. The problem is - we can't see beyond our own fears and apprehensions ... we can't open our selves up to something Holy and Beyond ourselves ... and we proceed at our peril.

Gandhi once said of Jesus (Yeshua's) teachings - "They are wonderful, too bad no one has tried to live them ..."

I find it remarkable that in the Church, to say nothing of a society so many claim to be Christian, that the one principle that seems to be glaringly absent is that of Tolerance.

Think back to the era of Civil Rights ... Clergy and Churches were criticizing Martin Luther King and accusing him of being Un-Christian ...

Think back to Apartheid ... Churches were defending the racism of that horrific system using the Scriptures ...

Think back to the horrors of Residential Schools and the oppression of Native people ... The Bible was used to defend what amounted to an attempt at cultural genocide ...

Even today our elected leaders invoke the name of God regularly like what they are doing is somehow blessed by our Creator ...

Through it all - God - the ONE Holy and Blessed God - The one we call by many names ... is no doubt wondering how it has all gone so terribly wrong ...

The whisper of faith is a whisper of love ... Love implies unconditional acceptance ...

It's funny, and more then a little sad to me ... So often the "Faithful" among us are often teh most intolerant ... They claim to be spiritual and faithful ... and yet in the same breath they will condemn those who are different, or who believe something different from them ...

I am a follower of Christ ... I hear the voice of God speak in many places ... I look to the written texts of many faiths ... I listen to the whispers of Truth that are uttered by many voices ... The day we say that ONLY Christianity has the answers is the day we are no longer being faithful to the truth we claim to follow ...

Call me a heretic ... but I know the world will only become a better place when we move away from our dogmas and easy answers and in true Kierkegaardian fashion leap into the hands of God ...

The god called Allah, Yahweh, The Christ, Ganesh, Shiva, The Great Spirit ...

The shortcoming is in US ... not in God.

2 comments:

itzktb said...

I remember when I first saw a comment from you on my blog many months back. I saw the word, "Reverend," and Immediately my guard went up. But you have proven over and over again that there are people who call themselves Christians, and that they actually do walk the walk.

I wish there were more like you Rev., the world would surely be a more loving and peaceful place.

Anonymous said...

The Bible is where we find the answers.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Give it a try, you can save yourself a lot of time and wasted verbage