The Church catholic and Christians and the religion in general can be and have done remarkable things. It, they and we have perpetuated the worst of everything thinkable upon people and within societies. I don’t know how to identify the difference between those who do live a life that is imbued with the call of Jesus and his way, the way God desires for us all, and the other group, the rest of the vast majority of people and institutions that call themselves “Christian” whose lives and policies demonstrate through their actions and words anything but the way of Jesus – all the while they demand respect as “Christians” and condemn anyone who doesn’t think like them or support their cause. I’m no better, but in perhaps different ways.
Back around 1992-1994, I left American-Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism because I just couldn’t take the hypocrisy, the lies, the self-righteous egos and attitudes, the self-deception, and the condemnation, scorn, and dripping condescension they so easily levied upon those who were not like them. Not everyone was like that, of course, but I knew that it was either leave or die spiritually. I knew that this wasn’t God, but I couldn’t stay around that part of the Church any longer. Frankly, I’ve seen only a worsening of the movement since then, primarily because of insecurity, envy, and the compulsion for worldly power and money.
I thought about Quakerism and the Anabaptist tradition. I had always been attracted to liturgical worship and the idea of a sacramental church. I began attending an Episcopal Church after finishing my Master’s degree – St. Paul’s Church in Akron, OH. I moved to Highland Square in Akron after finishing my degree and the church was down the street. I didn’t want to get involved; I didn’t want to know people. I just wanted to experience what this kind of worship and theology were all about. I knew that Roman Catholicism wasn’t a right choice. I didn’t know enough about Eastern Orthodoxy.
I found in Anglicanism and increasingly in Anglo-Catholicism a way of being a Christian that was honest and ancient and deep, yet not without its own problems. I found the best of the ancient traditions and saw in the lives of the saints and martyrs and doctors of the Church something real and profound, despite their foibles and problems.
Now, with the infestation of Anglican-Evangelicalism with the rankish spirit of American-Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism and from the fundamentalistic pseudo-liberal Anglicans, I am finding myself back in a similar place that I experienced in the early 1990’s. I know it isn’t God and I see good and bad within us all and within this Church, Anglican. I just don’t know how to separate out that which is truly God and that which is not. Some people find that process very easy, but I don’t.
The organized Church doesn’t reflect Jesus and God’s will for the most part. It has good PR, tells a good story, likes to deceive itself into believing it is something it is not, and all that. Yet, it is in all its imperfections the instrument that God still uses to accomplish some very good things – somehow. The longer I live, I am only more convinced that we all are depraved, bent, broken and it is an amazing accomplishment when good comes from us. Of course, this is the story of God and redemption and forgiveness and mercy and love and restoration and healing and peace and joy despite the circumstances, and this is loving one’s neighbor as one’s self – doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
This thing, this Christian thing, is really quite simple. Be honest. Have a sober estimation of oneself. Be humble. Don’t judge, for that is God’s business. Honor God and keep his commandments – which for us is simply to love God and love neighbor.
Why can’t we do this? Why? Yes, yes, I know all the psycho-social arguments. Why can we not do this? Really. Why not?
I came to all this stuff this morning after reading the article in the Los Angels Times about the loss of faith of their former religion reporter. Here is the link to the article. Read it.

Religion beat became a test of faith

My faith in God isn’t slipping. My faith in the Church is. My faith in people rests with the understanding that we are all capable of great good and horrendous evil. God is a respecter of persons – He calls us to the good, the beautiful, the sane, the giving of self, healing, restoration, reconciliation, but He will not force any of it upon us, and we bear the burden of the consequences of our rejection and deception. I just want to find people who want to live the simple faith. People who mean it. To work for the best, deny ourselves, and love. God helps us.