I listened to a person yesterday, hoping to get some inspiration and wisdom. Instead, I got a garbled set of nonsense that was studded with inarticulate references to “faith”. Some members of of the regular discussion want every event to become a bible study, and yesterday was no different.
This is why I do not go to church or to bible study. I do not often come away with good instructions for the next week. Instead, I come away wondering what the heck is wrong with people. These are confusing times and the Bible is a confusing book. When the self appointed interpreters are confused, ignorant, self serving and shallow, they help no one by repeating buzz words and slogans. Some of the “bible study” leaders cannot read beyond the 6 grade level. How are they studying a book? Why can’t they read after decades of wagging a bible around?
Worse are the ones who talk about themselves, their children and their limited, shallow dives into life. Look: everyone has a story. We do not need to listen as the most aggressive talkers bring up their self absorbed and self serving life details over and over again. Group discussions that turn into competitions between selfish yackers are not what I look for.
These are times when (and I can’t say it enough) charismatic creeps are misleading people who are confused about their spirituality. Charismatic creeps prey on people who are conflicted about their faith.
Wagging the bible around, pushing or manipulating people into having every discussion as a “religious” discussion is not enough! There has to be wisdom. There has to be education. There has to be a message that the listeners can understand and take away with them for a better life.
The good ones waste no words. The good ones give information that goes directly to the brain and stays there. The good ones give us wisdom and guidance that enhances our lives and makes us better. The good ones are in the world and they are available. The miracle is that the good ones will show up out of nowhere and they will tell us what we need to hear.
We could all be led into wasting our time on this and this. That such disturbed and crooked predators convince so many people to follow them tells us that even smoother charismatic creeps can fool vastly more people into following them right over the cliff.
It costs a lot of money to go to church, too. Churches are, like every other type of commerce, big business. The first thing that they give a new member is that book of payment tickets while the plate gets passed. Of course, the biggest tabernacle, the best decor and all of the perks of a big and bustling operation are the goal, as with any commercial operation. But are people leaving church with a new direction to take in life? Are they helped when they are troubled, or are they just leaving church with an empty wallet?
The same people come back, week after week, in need of the same “healing” and with fake displays of loud, public prayer. The same people get their engines fired up and spend the next week passing on the church-specific buzz words and slogans that they hear. “Have a blessed day.” “Prayerfully, I say…”
Oh please. What does that mean? We are either praying or we are not! “My God bless you and keep you!” is much better. “God loves you and cares about you.” is good. But “prayerfully” and “have a blessed day?” Someone please stop the madness.
“I will pray for you,” followed by an actual prayer for the person is one of the most powerful things that we can say and do when someone is truly going through a terrible time. No commercial slogan is more pure and helpful.
Preaching is another issue of mine. I can’t stand preaching. The priests of the church are supposed to keep themselves in shape with God and to conduct the rituals that people feel a need to engage in. Ritual people believe that symbolic acts of sacrifice or other that ancient belief structures are important. This is fine, but do we need preaching? No. We need sermons that give us wisdom and understanding, not showboating that gives us heart attacks.
The last time I went to church, the pastor thought it was cute to speak in tongues as if he were doing it for real. This stuff is not real when it happens every Sunday and only when in front of an audience. Speaking in tongues is not something that needs to be scheduled or practiced so that it sounds convincing. The real thing is a miracle: “Glossolalia is the miraculous ability to speak in a foreign language so that foreigners can hear the Gospel.” The gibberish I heard was understood by no one. The manipulation and control freaking was understood by me.
In summary, I am not happy with churches or with church people who talk forever, yet say nothing.
Church and bible study is not a bad thing. I would love to find a church that does not want more money, that has priests who do the ritual and sermons that give the guidance. I would love to join a flock that is relatively free of church and social predators and opportunists.
One day, God will pick me up and drop me off at such a church, and then I will know that I am finally home. Or perhaps this blog means that I am already home.