Who am I anyway? What am I? What’s my purpose . . . or is there even a purpose at all to any of this?
These are a few of the questions I have been asking myself over the years and somewhat (secretly or loudly) trying to figure out. Questions upon questions run through my mind like a junkie chasing his next fix . . . but usually the answers elude me and I have to experience a thing before I learn it’s lesson. . . . bummer . . .
Why can’t I just believe! Have faith! Listen to what they tell me! Read the good book, follow directions and queue up behind my choice of religion along with the rest of the crowd. Then I would just have to pay my tithes, listen to the pied piper and prepare for Heaven . . . or (gasp) follow this path I’m currently on and get sent on a one way trip to Hell. . . . “That’s the choice you have Jimbo . . . get used to the idea of Hell because you ain’t good enough for Heaven! . . . even if you had 15 more lives, you wouldn’t make the grade . . . Of course just say the magic words, ‘I accept Jesus as my personal saviour’ and your in scott free!” (see next installment)
I’m not really bragging, but I have a rather lengthy resume when it comes to experience on this earthly plain. In short, after a regular high school education, I have been an airborne soldier…been a hippie . . . been a religious nut . . . been an Alaskan fisherman and off season bush rat . . . been a carpenter/home builder. Am a husband . . . a father . . . a writer . . . an amateur herbalist . . . and a Taoistic Christian who lost (or escaped) the religious sides of both . . . The one great truth I have learned during all that time is that NOBODY knows their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to telling me, in a spiritual sense, what God expects from me. When it comes to living by law and order? That is a social requirement. When it comes to my spiritual life? That is a book only I can open and only I can read and understand and apply myself to.
I’ve run into a lot of folks who have tried to direct me in the ways of the Lord, or in the ways of God, or, worse yet, their own God ordained ways, but the only way that works for me spiritually speaking is MY way. . . . and MY way is fraught with dangers, because alongside of personal freedom dwells personal responsibility. . . and in this country, ‘responsibility’ is one of the scariest words in our language. Nobody seems to want anything to do with it. Look around, from the president on down and all you see are fingers pointing and tongues wagging . . no wonder we are in such bad shape.
I once lived on a christian commune . The religiosities were enormous and the social order was as restricted as the military unit I once served with. I did all the right stuff, said the right words, even attempted to sing on key while singing for my supper, but ultimately I had to walk out on the only church family I’ve ever had because of the religious nonsense that got the best of me. I wore the proper uniform, but I knew beneath it all I was play acting. I knew I was a phoney. Was I faking it? No, I was sincere as I could be, but that uniform I wore was starting to rot and rip as bad as fatigues in the jungle . . . and I knew it. . . . so bye bye, miss american pie . . .
Funny thing was, a year later, I visited my old family and most of them would barely talk to me . . . HA! Probably a good thing I left. With friends like that who needs enemies. But by then I had grown a beard and you know what they say about beards . . . no? Don’t matter, different shit, same day.
Now, to get to the point . . . I am about to embark on a long winded writing on the subject at hand, not as a teacher, but as a watcher and 75 year experiencer of living in the american bubble. (that is about to burst) The main thrusts in these writings will be about: 1. Personal responsibility and 2. Never give in . . . never, never, never give in to doing that which you believe to not be the right thing.
Now, when you walk alone and free there are rules, spiritual rules stronger than any physical rules. Rules that the whole of religious thought is based upon, the same rules that are taught in every religion on the planet and followed by almost no one . . . LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE.
I’m a builder. I build homes and just about anything else from musical instruments to dog houses. One thing I fully understand is that for a house to stand the test of time and weather, it must have a good, proper foundation. It is absolutely essential. The foundation must be started below the frost line, built up and carefully backfilled. Everybody knows in the trades that most buyers barely check the foundation and spend most of their time scrutinizing the paint job. So where does the greatest effort go on the builders part? You got it.
The main religions on this planet are all pretty much founded on the same principles of love, mercy, and grace. But after that the foundation goes in and up in a heated rush, it can be crooked and out of level and ugly as hell, but no one cares after the plates, joists, and plywood are applied to cover the shoddy work. The rest of the house is hurriedly roughed in until they get to the paint job and finish trim. Then it’s take your time and do a good job time. Welcome to the large, expensive and beautifully laid out churches of today. Watered down money grubbers like Joel Olsteen comes to mind. What a sham scam that smiley mannered young man is fostering upon the zillions of people who believe his nonsense.
No wonder our kids are leaving the churches in droves, they are smart enough to see the degradation and want no part of it. Trouble is while they see nothing but phoney going for reality, they are also losing the reality of the principles these churches were built upon, and they become wandering stars with no direction at all. They operate in the physical sense of doing what feels good to them. They are swinging the pendulum too far to the left and suffering greatly because of their parents inability to walk the walk while incessantly loving to talk the talk.
I don’t have all the answers, many I am still questioning.
I know for sure that I have no desire to teach, or start a club, or be a leader over anybody. I don’t even like people all that much these days. I have just one goal in these writings and that is to reveal to YOU that WE are powerful spiritual beings and are personally responsible for ourselves. And that we will never know any of that power unless we build the proper structure to contain it and we build it upon a foundation of love, mercy, and grace.
So although I may have a somewhat disjointed viewpoint of religion, I have researched it, meditated upon it, and it has become my reality. Because of that, the dusty old salvation story as well as the book it is written in has evolved into a new and very exciting reality.