Friday, October 15, 2010

The King and I

Finally came across some free time and I have actually been pretty anxious to post on here again. Despite just finishing a mid term paper I am still going to take more time out to write. I can’t imagine that I’m at any risk of being over academic in my daily life. The only problem is that I’m not focused but incredibly motivated for some reason. I needed some sort of catalyst that can make my brain, heart, and fingers do some sort of interconnected action that would be legible.

I’m currently at O’Hara high school for some observation hours to count towards my class project. I really had no preference at where I did my observation other than it had to be within 15 miles of my house. I’m already losing an opportunity to work and make money; I might as well save on gas. O’Hara is a private Catholic school where the students wear uniforms and the classrooms are small in number. I had heard from a fellow Rockhurst student who spoke with an administrator that 99% of students graduate. I’d like to verify this claim but I can’t currently at the moment. Based off of my observations thus far I’d probably agree. These kids are from all walks of life and counter the statistics on ethnicity in regards to performance in the classroom.

This is not why I’m motivated to write today. The students are reading The Crucible in class and are discussing the recent events that had occurred in the book. One specific example the class spoke about was when one of the characters, Mr. Proctor, was being investigated about why he doesn’t attend church anymore, he responded with that he didn’t like the pastor and his style of speaking. His main concern was the emphasis on hell fire and raising money. The teacher paused to ask the class if not attending church could be justified because you don’t like the pastor. Everyone in unison said “noooo.” And the teacher explained, “you go to church to worship God. So it shouldn’t matter who is giving the sermons.” I definitely differed in opinion. I had this very same conversation about a month ago with a friend of mine. Although very brief, we both explained our differences and while I agreed with his points I still overall could not justify going somewhere and receiving the same doctrine and expect positive results. When I began attending my church, about 5 years ago almost to the day, I was drawn in by the intelligent sermons and the questions posed. I remember my frustrations when associate pastors or guest speakers would step in and their sermons were watered down or more spiritual than intellectual. One woman would cry in every one of her sermons. This might make me seemed callous and someone might ask, “Why can’t a person become emotional when speaking?” or “what is a woman doing speaking in front of a church?!” The problem was that our church has three different gatherings and at each one she cried at the same point in every sermon doing the same thing (wailing at a cross she had placed in the middle of the pews.) That reminds me a lot of the televangelists of old. People who harp on emotions in order to attain the type of response the pastor plans out should be a crime. The motive should be authentic community. Every sermon should be a part of a movement. Each lesson taught should impact our humanity. King said, “The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well-being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them.” If you are only receiving a portion of the gospel your institution is a, “spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.” King’s words, not mine.

All I really want is for people to discern their feelings upon going to a religious institution and challenge their own beliefs with consideration for the reality of the world they live in. Whatever god you believe in there should be more logic than whimsy. Hopefully there are as many statistics as there are tears and as much community as there is shame. Academia can assist the Kingdom of Heaven far more than ignorance. Questioning dogma (or anything) can produce a stronger allegiance to what you were questioning in the first place. And blindly following a leader is equally as destructive to your own identity as it is furthering the untested agenda of those in charge.

This is a quote I love and it just happens to be a relative of mine.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
–Thomas Paine-

1 comment:

  1. agreed. i can't believe i wasted all those years handling snakes in church just because my preacher told me it would bring me closer to God. man oh man, do i feel dumb.