Why Doesn’t SCJ Deal With More Religious Content?Aug 20th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Dr Jerry Elrod's Senior Moments Blog
Religious content is about as varied as any subject one can name. It has as many proponents, exponents, opponents in almost any category one can name. It is, like politics, one of the quickest ways to stoke a fire, stir up anger, raise a converesation to a boiling point, create reasons for division among friends, and end formerly good relationships.
Now, why should we want to go out on the proverbial limb and begin to address content? If so, what perspective might be taken that would have any appeal or draw at all? Is it worth the risk? Having been a clergy person most all my life, I do not tremble at the prospect. In fact, I could, and likely would, relish it. But, I would be more inclined to deal with such an assignment in the face of questions, raised by others. My guess is I would take a stab at replying, and sometimes, when doing so, miss the heart of the matter.
‘All the more reason, since I am now a retired clergyman that I should give it a shot,’ you say? “Isn’t it my task to bring persons to belief or faith or whatever they are seeking?” “Why am I not troubled with those who are doubters, unbelievers, backsliders, whatever?”
On the contrary, my life’s role has been as translator, interpreter, clarifier. And that means I do not presume to have an edge on the truth. I do not serve as a direct conduit from God to you. I am not a mini post office receiving messages to be passed along specifically to you. My role is to raise questions, probe spirits, create an atmosphere for faith struggle, offer insights and perhaps inspiration which may allow for growth and development of a maturing faith perspective in the interrogator’s life.
For those who begin and end their faith journey at about the age of 8 or 9, there is little a preacher or teacher can do to offer expansive possibilities for faith interpretation and experience. Growth is essential to faith. Stopping off at a religious candy store at about age 8 will not offer sufficient spiritual nutrition to make a long term difference in one’s life. A steady diet of either theological pablum, myths and “God said it, I believe it and that settles it” attitudes will not create an environment for questioning and wrestling with the mystery(ies) of the universe .
Sunday school is a good place as a child to work on foundations. It is a place, as one ages, to be sure that that foundation is strong and also resilient. It is a place to quarrel with your own soul over the truth that finally matters. It is, however, not a place to assume that all of faith’s conclusions have been reached or constructed. Building faith requires a very long term builder’s permit.
That is why some kind of orientation, spiritual reaching inward to understand the outward pressures of living, is critical. That discipline is up to the invidual who should always be suspect of those who “have all the answers.”
The joy of faith is in its similarity to the universe. It is ever changing, always pushing out further, always full of mystery and wonder. Deciding to live within the vortex of that kind of faith experience will keep you energetically moving on, ever creating and discovering new insights and wisdom and understanding.
If this doesn’t answer my question, ask one of your own and I will “take a stab at it.”