Monday, November 21, 2005

I'd rather listen to Buddha...

The dedication ceremony for the baby had gone well. New families were in church and I was conscious that for some it was a 'different' experience.

"...thanks for a lovely service..." the aunt was shaking my hand. "...thank you" I reply "...do you go to church often or was that all really odd for you?"

Through a bite on a biscuit she says "Oh no we were brought up in the evangelical church - so I do guilt really well" She laughs some crumbs. "The layers of guilt piled on my young shoulders were too much - the only way for me to find peace was to walk away from the church and its guilt inspiring Jesus"

She smiles through the crumbs "Oh dear I think I've said too much...!" undaunted she smiles again looks me in the eye. "Do you know I felt free - a freedom - once I walked away...once I was old enough to know that I could walk away... I turned to Buddha... I'd rather listen to Buddha...Buddism has everything I need and guess what ... no guilt!"

I drink from my cup of tea and smile back "Funny really... Jesus is really all about freedom - I'm sorry that for you it was made to be about guilt..."

I felt sad. The subject changed - I was lefting thinking ... 'what have we done to the message of Jesus...!?'

6 comments:

Bill said...

Wow!

BrownEyedGirl said...

I joked with someone even today about how good we are with guilt-ouch. I will be thinking about your blog for sometime. Thanks

Kathryn said...

It's not just an evangelical hangup either...Last week I had a long discussion with someone who felt that the only way they could ever dare to approach the Communion rail was, metaphorically, on their knees...They were desolate because we had, for one week, omitted the "Prayer of Humble Access", with its emphasis on our unworthiness. No matter how often we preached God's love, what they heard was their own, individual wretchedness. So so sad :-(

Rob said...

it's amazing isn't it ... we have the best gift of freedom to offer, and yet we manage to package that best gift in such dirty and unattractive packaging so that it looks like something horrible.

For some reason the terms (or similar) of party and brewery come to mind!

Sister said...

One of our lecturers at Bible college way back told us that after conversion, everything is a matter of balance. I remember feeling sick about the religious guilt I was brought up with because it seemed to lead nowhere, it wasn't leading to a change in my life, and far less the joy of knowing forgiveness. But when we get it right, awareness of sin and response to that is life-changing, and life renewing. The challenge for the church is to make the connections. I would rather go 'ouch' when a minister occasionally misses out the prayer of humble access than have a 'flat' Christianity with a heart unresponsive to sin.
pax et bonum

Gordon said...

INteresting points - thanks. It made me think perhaps there is guilt and then there is guilt!! I wonder if I would have been happier listening to Buddha if when I came to faith it was on built upon guilt without grace and freedom ;o)