Lectio Writ LARGE!

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on 7 July 2022 0 Comments

I write this essay in the wake of a slate of recent rulings by the US Supreme Court that many progressive Christians, and progressive persons in general, find most troubling.

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Does it really matter which religion you follow as long as you are a good person and help others?


Dear Reader,

In a word, “no.”  But I get up to 500 words for my answer, so I’d like to offer a little bit more here…

The deeper etymology of the word, “religion” is not historically certain but the Latin term, religiō, breaks down into re (again) and ligare (bind, connect).  Religion is the practice of returning again (and again) to that which offers connection.  In this light, it feels particularly important to emphasize that one’s religion provides a sense of connection, by which I mean relationship and belonging.  When performed on their own, the rites of religion can feel formulaic or empty.  It is in community, where religion provides meaning and offers collective guidance for the growth and transformation of all involved.  In Matthew 18:20 (ESV), we read, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them;” and the “Triple Gem,” (Buddha-Dharma-Sangha), is a core teaching in Buddhism.  “Sangha,” means community and the triple gem teaches that honoring the Buddha and studying the texts (Dharma) becomes most useful when it is brought to life in relationship with others (Sangha).

How do we un-learn harm and embody practices that allow us to be, “a good person?”  I believe it is through being in relationship -- making mistakes and practicing forgiveness -- with others.  And how do we learn what is truly helpful in our intentions to “help others?”  I believe it is by making time to really listen to the stories and experiences of those who have different perspectives or who are living in social locations that are not my own. In this way, we might experience true spiritual maturation together.  Not only that but having people to sing, dance, pray, work and share meals with makes life a lot more joyful!  Honoring life cycles and celebrating rites of passage with reverence and togetherness is religion done well.  As we find our way on the path we are called to travel, these are some ingredients for finding and tending our religious home.

~ Rev. Lauren Van Ham




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