Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fewer sacred cows

copyrighted to Himalayan Academy PublicationsI think one of my resolutions this year will be fewer sacred cows. Having been around the Church block a few times, I've at times found, adopted, rejected, or ignored rallying cries and doctrinal dividing lines along the way. Years ago I was part of discussions (i.e. arguments) to do with eschatological events and I've been fairly certain about different positions on opposite sides of the spectrum at different times! I could back it up with scripture. That shows how crazy some of that stuff gets. This is really weird, but I once had my community of faith (during early college years) tell me they "couldn't fellowship with me anymore" because I was asking questions about the Holy Spirit! They believed charismatic experience was "wrong." I wasn't pushed out of the group because I was selling drugs or living with my boyfriend, but for messing with their sacred cow of doctrinal purity according to them.

Another group said I had to be "spirit-filled." Anything liturgical was surely a sign of spiritual deadness and just head knowledge. Only certain people were allowed to pray for other people. I heard one leader say she wouldn't let so-and-so ( who by the way loved Jesus) touch her in prayer (afraid she would get slimed), thereby labeling that person as suspect, messed up, demonized or whatever in front of all the hearers. I am not talking about spiritual warfare, which I think is very real, but what seems like unkind pettiness.

I've heard warnings to be ultra-careful about what words come out of the mouth. A negative declaration may come true. Okay, this is a little extreme, but I know someone who will not say she is catching a cold, only that she is "catching a healing." Very important to her, but seems a little like fantasyland to me.

These are admittedly my own absurd examples and in no way reflect the wonderful, wise, loving people I have known in all camps. I am so thankful for what I have learned and experienced from many persuasions in my faith journey. I've had some excellent mentors, too. It's easy to look back and in hind sight see absurdity in some cases, but how many sacred cows do I still hold to (and even feed) that I don't recognize as such? How many times do I think of someone as being "in" or "out" related to my or my group's sacred cow? Do I alter my behavior to please people (whom I want to impress) over Jesus? This year I hope to become freer from bottom lines that will not hold up over time. In other words, I want to grow in a knowledge of truth that causes me to root deeper in Jesus and his way (the way of love.) That sounds simplistic, but it is not. It is a process of debunking sacred cows that interfere with that along the way as I become aware of them. And friends, I will need you to help me. Are you "in" or "out"?

image credit:Copyrighted to Himalayan Academy Publications, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii from Wikipedia


Blogger the refuge said...

jenny, i am trying to get to a place where i can live in the tension of "that works for them" and "this works for me" and one is not right or wrong, good or bad--just different. it is hard. i have felt that pressure a lot--i am not doing "spirituality" the way i am supposed to do it in their eyes but i am also reminded that i do the same thing, apply the same judgement, to others, too. the only thing i want to hold sacred is the mystery and beauty of Jesus. that there's so much i don't know. there's so much i have learned. but there's so much ahead that is completely uncharted and that where i am now is not where i will be later if i live open handed, free-er, with a heart that keeps seeking and being willing to shift and change. kathy (sorry about my google weirdness, it is a refuge account)

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Kathy, I agree. If I am walking more and more in Jesus' way of love, it would presuppose that this love would extend to those who disagree with the way I am doing it! If I think of specifics, though, I have to disengage with the parts that have affected me or others in a toxic or abusive way and still not judge or condemn the people. That's where I need God's help!

11:54 PM  

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