David, a friend of mine, and I were having a conversation the other day about religion, We were both trying to understand our present day connection to Christianity. For him, he was trying to reconcile faith with his humanist upbringing and I related how I was very interested for a time in becoming a Minister when I was a teenager, and since then drifted away from mainstream Christianity although I have had an enduring, although somewhat academic, interest in Christian spirituality. It only creeps into practice through music: I sing in a Christian Evensong chorale and that experience has brought me into closer contact with Christianity. I still do not call myself a Christian, unable to accept the truth of belief as stated in the Nicene Creed.
Ironically however, singing has not brought me closer to Christian teaching per se, but rather has drawn me closer to the inspiration for the music, tapping some of the same spirit that Bach and Bruckner and Verdi sensed.
I have written a little over the years about Christianity, and I’m number one on Google for “beatitudes vs. ten commandments”, because of this post from a few years ago. There is much that resonates with me about Christianity, and especially from the example of Christ’s life. But there is much that I cannot abide, like the tales of genocide in the Old Testament in the name of the God that sent Christ to earth.
So in conversation with my friend I expressed a concern that so much of Christian sacred text seems to me to be pointless, and yet, if one takes this as necessarily complete, then it all must come with the territory. I can figure out how Leviticus or Daniel applies to my life today, and I cannot accept those prescritions on my life and family. So am I just to selcect and pick and choose? How is it that Christians reconcile their belief in the Bible as the exclusive source of their religion with some of the strange things that are contained in there?
My friend David gave me the appreciative answer to this question: notice what resonates with you and honour that response. There must be something to it. This is not the answer that serves to move one closer to becoming a practicing Christian, but it is a useful response for a non-Christian in understanding the value of these stories and the traditions that have supported them for thousands of years
And here, finally, is good advice. If we work on tuning ourselves, we can become more and more sensitive to what might land on us and find ways to incorporate that into the evolving beings that we are.