The End of My Sambatical From Organized Religion – Part Deux

If you have not done so, please read Part 1 of this trilogy. Otherwise the rest of it won’t make a lick of sense.

 

Eventually the time came that I was able to get back out & about. I have never lead the most adventurous existence, and the church had been a huge part of my social life for years, so it was with some trepidation that I returned. I did my best to put the acrimony behind me, but if I am being honest I am not sure I ever did. Armed with that subliminal resentment I began to notice the superficial pretense. I had finally taken off my rose colored glasses and saw the church for what it was…a very human creation that I was pretty sure no longer resembled God’s original intent. Little snubs & slights began to gnaw at me. I actually did get angry and skipped a couple of Sundays here & there, always pondering the possibility of finding a new church. But I always came back. I refer to it as Battered Parishioner Syndrome.

 

Then, three years after my triumphant return, the events of last spring unfolded. Again, the details are unimportant, but suffice to say that things didn’t happen overnight. The straw that broke the camel’s back was actually quite silly & petty on my end, but it came at the conclusion of a string of events that built up like a slow filling helium balloon. Even then when I quietly stormed out that last Sunday I knew I’d probably get over it and go back in a week or two. But things began to happen. I got very sick and was unable to attend for a couple of Sundays. When no one called to see if I was okay that old resentment began to rear its ugly head. A meeting that I had every intention of attending went on without me because I was unexpectedly asked to work a Saturday morning shift.  I expressed my displeasure to a few fellow congregants in regards to the aforementioned camel breaking straw, and I was told “You’ll be back. You always come back.” And that was when my pride kicked in and I decided that I was going to prove them wrong and not go back. And I didn’t.

 

At first I seriously pondered finding a new church. That probably would have been the wise decision. Like my friend The Owl I could have visited churches and atleast given them a chance until they gave me a reason to discard them. But I didn’t. I began to realize that the cause of my inner turmoil was bigger than the particular things that had happened in my church. I slowly came to understand that I had lost my zeal for the whole of organized religion. Its hollowness. Its hypocrisy. Its focus on money. Its resistance to try anything new. Its reliance on habit passed off as tradition. Its lack of meaningful influence. Its determination to fit into the world’s paradigms when The Bible clearly says that we are to be “in the world but not of the world” (or something to that effect) and “a peculiar people”. I decided…as I have to a large extent in relation to life in general…to withdraw. When something frustrates, upsets, aggravates, and saddens you the prudent course of action is…sometimes…to just shun it altogether.

 

And then a few weeks ago…on a lazy Saturday when The Bachelor Palace was a complete mess, I was not dressed for company (let your imagination run wild), and I was having a day where I was keenly aware of my own emptiness, isolation, and ennui…there was a knock at my door.

 

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