Sunday, May 15, 2011

Outside the towers

Leaving the tradition
No longer believing the sacred texts
I sit by the road near my old tower and marvel

My tower promised Truth, forgiveness, and eternal life
And delivers community, rules, endless obligations, and destiny
It’s an elaborate, ornate structure, with a rich history and traditions
Generations of scholars built up its troves of wisdom
Thousands of books, millions of sermons
Creeds spell out the essentials, most questions have answers
The sacred texts are central—but a challenge to make sense of
Even more confusing to live by
The sacred texts say they are inspired—therefore they must be

It’s still hard for me to believe the tower was built with human hands
How can so many people over the centuries be so wrong?
Lives have been changed, saved from disaster
Its rules usually work out so much better than instant gratification
But its claims for Truth don’t bear close inspection
Is it just cultural evolution set on a course
Reflecting older times where God’s hand was everywhere
And God demanded appeasement?

Other towers claim Truth too—it doesn’t help their story
But apparently God is not inclined to set things straight
We are told it’s OK for things to be confusing, otherwise why would we need faith?
It’s part of the master plan, and God’s thoughts are much higher than ours
Or perhaps these towers are Babels—built of burnt bricks, stacked by human hands

The tower of Science is different
Its dwellers know that its doctrines are flawed
Not everything is explained, they look forward to inevitable change
Bringing them closer to reality
I’m a part time dweller there, but sometimes I feel the call to go sit outside
And sit in the dirt

The other towers are not so fond of this late-comer Science
Continually rocking the boat—challenging perfectly good doxies
Alternate stories for beginnings—the universe and life
Rainbows explained
Miracles ignored, genealogies discounted

Mostly I don’t miss living in my old tower
Trying to rationalize doctrines that don’t make sense
Or dealing with rules pulled out of thin air or worse
But I do miss destiny
And the promise that all things work together for good—for those in the tower

God still calls, and I try to answer
I still pray and ask for favors
God no longer demands blood, sacrifice, and worship
But still requires justice, kindness, and humility
And love

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