Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Form of Insanity

I'm used to being on the periphery of the 'organization' part of organized religion. One would think that would be a creative place to be. I can see the needs that organization leaders must deal with, and I can feel the alienation and disengagement in those who aren't let 'in' on it.

But what I feel most is a sense of impotence. I speak up, I take part, I relate, whether in 'hierarchical' ways or in 'emergent' ways. But each new venture ends up peetering out, either in frustrating failure or acceptance of small, almost trivial gains. Maybe it's middle-age getting to me. Or just the endless repeating of the pattern. I still want to make a difference. I still want to be a vessel for God's work in moving the Church Universal ahead. But instead, I'm a part of spiritual regression. I try to do it a little differently each time (and occasionally a lot differently), knowing how insane it is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. But I still make nibbles when full bites are needed. I keep myself spiritually open, looking for God's open doors, trying some doorknobs, peeping through peepholes. But nothing much happens. I have so much to offer, but instead everyone else wants me to do what I'm not at all good at, with predictable results. And when I try to start something myself, I end up out there alone. It's not a good place to be. I don't belong there.

I don't really think anyone has an answer for that. But I share it anyway.


Paul said...

To me also there often seems to be a tension between religion and its institutional forms and being fully open to spiritual experience.

Bob Longman said...

Amen to that, Paul.

It's not just the experience that conflicts. For many people, including me, what conflicts just as much (if not more) is the attempt to follow where the experience leads by way of action. In other words, the 'next step' quest and question.