Deep damage

When you extricate yourself out of a less than good situation, I know it helps me to figure out what was damaging about it. Depending on how long I was in it, it might take a while to begin to do that.

I have grown up going to church. I knew a lot of the things a “good Christian” should do and should believe. Things like daily private devotions and certain things about the accuracy of the bible. As I got older, the message was not a lot different but I grew better at hearing the sub-text.

Church pastors and other teachers try to convince you that Christianity isn’t a list of “dos” and “don’ts”. They dress this up with phrases like “the mark of a Christian is…” and “… isn’t God-ly”. They lay down expectations of a daily quiet time, regular prayer and other personal practices that never work for everyone. They even explicitly say “it’s not a list of dos and don’ts”.

Except it is.

All religious and spiritual practices are. They can be as complex as modern Judaism, which even says you can’t prepare certain types of food together (so wealthy Jews have two kitchens). Or it can be as simple as the Wiccan Rede: do what you will without harming anyone. Most are somewhere in the middle. Like Christianity.

I’m learning that the Christianity that comes from following the Jesus remembered in the Bible starts with “don’t be a dickhead but love everyone, treating them all as valuable people”. The church over the centuries has added a lot to that. It is a lot of those additions I am extricating myself from.

It is a slow process.

 

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