Monday, March 19, 2007

True Religion

I haven't been blogging as much or with much depth when I have blogged recently. It's been a whirlwind around here. Spring Break with the kids home. House painted. Workers hither and thither. Family in town. A toddler who cries every time he sees me sit at the computer. Every. Time. Unless, I'm doing something frivolous like playing a video game on my daughter's Webkinz website. Yes, children under ten have community websites where they play, learn, care for their Web pet (she has a pink pony and a white, long-haired cat) and can hang out with friends. They also play games and I'm addicted to one of them. Little Toot delights in watching it--it's simple, really. You line up three balls of the same color and they explode and you get points. You earn "kins kash" the more points you get and can feed your pet and buy cool stuff.

Anyway, not much time to blog and not much interested in blogging. The news is always the same: Republicans accused of some nefarious plot, much time spent dodging and weaving the silliness, all meant to distract from real issues. The media truly is a disgraceful bunch. So, yeah, I'm tired of seeing the same thing over and over.

Other people are dealing with real problems--not just media fatigue. So I stopped over at the Anchoress and she finds this gem. Where does she find them? You absolutely MUST go read this post. It's heartening and encouraging and reaffirming.

This is a challenging time of year--or it often is for those who adhere to Judeo-Christian faiths. It is a time of reflection and analysis. The more Orthodox Jews remove leavening from their homes--the leaven a symbol of sin. Lent serves the same purpose for Catholics. They give up physical attachments to point out how physically attached frail humans are to things. We physical beings need tangible symbols to make our spiritual walk real. As we catalog all the ways our short-comings precipitated the necessity of a Savior, we are humbled and small. Often, physical pain, trials and tribulations hit at this time of year. They are opportunities to recognize, again, our smallness in the face of the bigness of God.

I think much of the hopelessness in the Western world correlates with the decline of faith. A person who believes their actions, their influence, their decisions are the only things that count can succumb to desperation in short order. A person whose world shrinks to their own realm of influence is the king of a tiny and impotent domain.

And this is where the non-God fearing get angry. They believe that because those of faith trust the Maker of us all to guide the big picture, the faithful disregard the small picture. That's not true. Those who practice true religion make sure to serve their fellow man. Those who practice true religion "dress and keep" their corner of the world. Those who practice true religion love their neighbor as much as they love their own life. True religion is feeding and dressing the needy. And those who practice the truest religion lay their lives down for their fellow man.

It's a paradox that those who value life the most would die to protect it. Jesus died so that we could live. Those who die on the battlefield die so that we live, so that those hopeless and helpless in the Middle East might live. Many Iraqis have sacrificed themselves so that their neighbor could live. Every sacrifice counts.

This big idea, willing self-sacrifice to serve seems so antiquated. It's old-fashioned to imagine doing servile work to lift someone else up. It's good work. It's God's work.


carol said...

"I think much of the hopelessness in the Western world correlates with the decline of faith."

How true. What is truly startling is how many people I've known personally or by repute who brag that they're above "superstition" but almost in the same breath confess how utterly desperate they are. And they never seem to make the connection.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, where do we find the webkinz secret code?