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FINDING POTHOLES


Religions provide pitted roads to righteousness Religions provide roads to righteousness, but pitted with potholes of man's invention


The deepest, most pervasive, trap lies in closed, exclusive, truth;
defining one way, an only way, to approach divinity.

Potholes may divert us, delay us, but "exclusive truth" denies us
the opportunity to progress, or find another, a more personal, way;
perhaps a way more suited to a particular nation or environment.

It is a major weapon in the armoury of every organised religion;
captures and holds adherents, forms a cohesive whole.
It means power for leaders and security for its people.
But it ties the roadway of divinity to
the fixed fantasies of its founders.

It defines how God is to be understood;
how we are to view God behind our blinkers.
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God is an entity beyond our understanding. God is an entity beyond our understanding.


Yet every popular religion makes its image of Divinity.
Each has its own explanation of incomprehensibility,
insists on the completeness of that image.
Each creates an idol out of its need
as each struggles to understand
what is beyond comprehension.

And we, its members, are all called to agree
to futile statements affirming disputed truth,
when God's reality lies all around
in acts of love and beauty.

The form and features of divinity
have become a focus for division
one religious tribe against another
priestly power-blocks in collision.

Yet God's reality lies beyond our mortal minds
as we scrabble like children in the dirt of ignorance
squabbling over inessentials and losing divine reality.

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Personal desire promotes concepts of individual salvation. Personal desire promotes concepts of individual salvation.


Evil lies dormat in individuality, ready to leap out and strike
ready to divide, conquer; to assure my rights, mine not our's.

Like the insidious snake of that Eden myth
pervasive personal desire twists its way back into contention
with fresh conceptions of individual salvation through another's deeds.
The pagan concept of atoning sacrifice through the death of an innocent,
Embraces in one mistaken phrase all that is wrong in human spiritulality,
focussed on me, my salvation, my forgiveness, my eternal life.

My desires, my salvation becomes the focus of religion.
assuring myself of my eternal place in heaven.
Performing the right rituals, sacraments,
all that is needed to earn promotion.

It was not for "me" that Jesus suffered and died
not for "me" that Mandela lay in prison
or Ghandi went on his fateful journey,
but for mankind, as our example
to show us true divinity
self-giving.

We are called to give all for each other
forget self in constant human sacrifice
giving, giving until all is given
emptied of all but love;
there to find our God.

It is in coming together in community that we serve each other
It is this, not pre-written liturgy, that is the meaning of a Christian service.
It is in the ways in which we live our lives that we serve the purposes of divinity.
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Righteousness Through Christ Alone Righteousness Through Christ Alone


Each religion proclaims, inevitably,
the singularity of its approach to divinity,
for this is the false foundation of its power.
Christian separation from its founding faith
centres on the proclaimed divinity of Jesus
grown from pagan influence and debate,
and centuries of religious violence.

So the Christian, centred on its founder,
prays "through Jesus Christ our Lord",
denying the teaching of Christ
in its desire for difference.

"Through Christ Alone! " the church proclaims
excluding those who differ from its vision
excluding those who worship God alone
discarding any intermediary.
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Religions offer an eternal benefit for our adherence. Religions offer an eternal salvation for our adherence.


Religions focus on eternal reward for adherence to their concepts,
either in some distant heaven or upgraded reincarnation
explaining the injustices of this world
by after-death rewards

Thus they excuse lack of religious concern for the suffering and the marginalised;
the failure of religions to protest over social failure, hierarchies,
inequality, poverty, injustice and division.
This is not the way of love

It may seem absurd to portray creation's focus for its components
as solely to earn eternal reward, or punishment, after death.
There must be a sounder purpose than my eternal destiny.

The message of Jesus clearly calls us
to bring hope of a better tomorrow to the hopelesss,
to bring comfort to the dispossessed and those who mourn,
to respond to the needs of this life
as the hands and feet of God
working out God's purpose
of universal love.
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Our God is a consuming fire. Our God is a consuming fire.


The Bible clearly states that "The Lord is a Consuming Fire",
giving sacramental value to shopping trolleys
and the self-centred consumers of society.

We want more and better and bigger;
Finance not centered on our savings but on turnover,
discarding the old and valuing change over stability,
progress over peace and, maybe, hope over happiness.

The values of society have become driven by dissatisfaction,
by the desire for change, without identifying its aim.
Blindly we are dispatched by advertised lack
to fill a need that we never knew we had.
So consumption fuels our economy
pushed by venal suppliers
feeding our adictions.

Sadly the church has failed to push a different agenda.
We, too, are centred on our own salvation
rather than on concern for others.

Could we, the church, not lead the way out of enslavement to self,
to share our lives, to give and not to count the cost
nor seek for any reward?

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Prayer has become a call for God to fill our need. Prayer has become a call for God to fill our need.


Religion is universally a technique for spiritual success;
Prayer a desperate measure when hope is at an end;
a demand aimed at divinity.

Many of the non-religious see prayer as
to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled
on behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.

or as a desperate measure when the stakes are high
and the usual techniques for success have been exhausted

Evangelical prayer demands the obedience of God
to what we demand in the name of our intermediary.
Faith is often defined as trust in the response;
that God will act at our command.

Yet Christ cringed silent in the garden
prepared for obedient suffering.

Surely prayer is not demand but offering
placing ourselves at God's disposal
ready to be reminded of all
that we are called to do.
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Scripture is deemed as the very word of God Scripture is deemed as the very word of God


Scripture is oft proclaimed as the very word of God
inerrant and given for our guidance, obedience,
setting down truths for all time.

Yet every simple act and story is embellished in the telling
legends have been built by those with a set agenda
history has been bent to report what should be true

Scripture is written with a purpose
written so that we might believe
what the author intends.
Truth can be its victim.
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The word Gospel as synonymous with truth The word Gospel as synonymous with truth


The Bible's stories are not a simple record of events
but are told to convince the reader.


The Gospels follow Jewish precedent
of taking and extending simple stories
to fulfill a spiritual truth, teach a lesson.

Faith through blind acceptance of the written word
is not trust in God but in the author of the passage.

We are deceived by frequent proclamation
so brain-washed into spiritual blindness
unable to view and analyse the agenda of ancient scribes.

The life of Jesus became, has been, a tool
in the hands of eager preachers,
adapted to their needs.
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We have reinvented the Gospel of Jesus We have reinvented the Gospel of Jesus


What he said and taught has been reimagined
adapted to fit the occupants of the corridors of religious power.


The Gospel of Jesus, that he and his disciples preached
was not about individual salvation or eternal life
was not about atonment or punishment for sin
These are doctrines of the medieval church
crafted to contain their congregations

The Gospel of Jesus, that he and his disciples preached
was not about trinitarian formulae, nor virgin birth
was not about punitive suffering nor resurrection.
These are the doctrines of the medieval church
crafted to build the ecclesiastical empire

The Gospel of Jesus, that he and his disciples preached
that Jesus described in parables and actions
was about the Kingdom of God
.. a mustard seed that grows into a vast tree
.. leaven that spreads through the dough
.. love that permeates and changes
.. the innocence of new birth
.. the persistance of a child
was about the impact of
God's Kingdom.

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Can we find the reality of God anew
when present truths appear untenable?
Can we then still seek reality in divinity?

Can we recover our spiritual journey,
apply a fresh surface to our present road,
or must we abandon this pathway
for another, truer, path?