Thursday, 19 March 2009

Hen Buddhism and the Art of Human Maintenance (2)

Lee says:

Saturday, 14 March 2009
A response to Rob-bear

Rob-bear makes a fair point in my earlier post, that ‘organised religion’ has done much good in the past.

As he states, it has been responsible for providing many medical services over the ages.

It has also been responsible for the creation of many schools. Initially the Church gained great power by being the only people who could read and write. In later years, it found value in running schools and teaching.

Not for just itself but because it then had control of the curriculum.

Rob-bear did not mention art – the Church has been responsible for some magnificent architecture, art and music.

I could now go into a long list of things that the Churches did over the years that were truly atrocious but that would be missing the main point I want to make.

My gripe is with the Church today. It’s actions now.

The Church and its supporters must take this view, too. Why else would they be chasing converts? The Bible is full of calls to repent; implying that you can leave your past ways, good or bad, and follow the new.

So, my gripe is with the new.

Irrespective of how they behaved in the past, good or bad, what are they doing now?

If what they do is good, I will praise it, but if what they do amounts to idiocy then I feel no compulsion to be a quiet observer.


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
- Elie Weisel.

Rob-bear says:

Thank you for taking me seriously.

What's happening today?

• Meals for people who don't have food. (I remember going to a church in another community for Holy Communion. Sunday service was held in the chancel. When I arrived (a bit early) the back of the nave was still full of "street people," finishing their breakfasts. Similar things happen in my community.)
• Housing for those who don't have any -- including the building of housing units if nobody else will build.
• Support networks, for those who feel friendless.
• Counselling, for free!
• Etc., etc., etc.

These things, of course, rarely make it into "the media," though they are commonplace. That's why many of these activities remain virtually unknown. Often, such actions take place in a community context, where churches (Protestant and Catholic) work together, many times side-by-side with non-church groups, to provide a broader and more effective service. I speak from personal experience.

And I don't think this is just a Canadian phenomenon.

You said, "If what they do is good, I will praise it." So, . . .

{The one thing I would add in passing is that I agree entirely with the quote from Elie Weisel. As long as we're protesting something worth protesting, not a straw man.}


The Blog Fodder said...

The good things you mention are usually done by the little people at the bottom who are truly Christian, (or Muslim or...) By the time it gets farther up the hierarchy these things are seen as a means to get and keep power. People come to church looking for love, foregiveness, peace, help. When they find it it is usually from local pastors who are called to feed their sheep.

Rob-bear said...

Al: Follow the"little people." That's where the "action" is. I'm with them.

About the icon of St. Anthony . . .
The icon comes from Eastern Christian Supply Company. With thanks!