Here is a new addition to my collection of samples from the work of some of the people I have started following on their blogs a while ago. They are, among others on my blogroll, people whose open mind and honest opinions I can “use” to lift my spirit now and again, and I am grateful to each and everyone.
One of the points that stuck with me was the idea that most of the great faiths, including Christianity in the past, expressed religion as a form of action. You learn by doing; it’s a practical knowledge. You don’t learn to swim by reading a book, for example. The actual practice is more important than the theory.
When applied to faith, this practical aspect serves both the practitioner and other people. If you are driven to act in an altruistic way because of your belief then many benefit. There is the idea that as people move away from institutions, or if it is purely an internal dialogue and journey (hello, me) then the practical aspect disappears. Religion, as an intellectual construct, is fairly self indulgent and, if it is just tied up with the Ego (MY Belief, MY church) then it is little more than a form of idolatry.
“social media” is an oxymoron
“social” comes from a Latin word meaning “companion;” but the sense in which we use it comes from one of the patron saints of American materialism, John Locke, who wrote in 1695 that it is “pertaining to society as a natural condition of human life.”
The word “society” was first used c. 1630 to mean “a group of people living together in an ORDERED community.”
“media” is a word used only since1927, following “mass media” from 1923, a technical term in ADVERTISING, which means “of intermediate agency,” a sense first found c.1600.
Society and advertising are not congruous. In fact, they are totally incongruous. Advertising is intended to foster coveting, which is, of course, destructive of living together in an ordered community (see Deuteronomy 5:21).
I assert that an “intermediate agency” — that is, something that stands between two entities — cannot be “social” by reason of the obvious fact that it creates space, that is, it separates entities [in this case, people].
My struggle with questioning my faith has led me to take the action that needed to be taken and leave the ministry. I’m no longer a pastor. Many may question the steps I’ve taken…I’ve had questions myself. But the things I did and the steps I’ve taken were to create as safe an exit as possible.
I know that there are those who will attack these decisions. I hope you understand the torture that the realization that I’d lost my faith inflicted upon me. I made my exit as quickly as possible after I’d become convinced that I no longer believed.