Leaving Church Finding God: Being Done not None

The old adage goes, “You can talk about anything, except religion and politics.” On this blog, I guess I throw…

The old adage goes, “You can talk about anything, except religion and politics.” On this blog, I guess I throw that advice out the window. My hope is that you find this blog an outlet to those lingering thoughts that you find in the back of your mind. Those things, that at least for me, I am usually not bold enough to say. In this post, I can feel that I will probably hit on both religion and politics. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Pew research and many blogs analyzing their research has made a big deal lately out of the rise of the “Nones”, those people who identify no particular religious affiliation. It’s no secret that the category, “Nones”, that researchers use can be deceiving and does not really tell the whole story.

For instance, I don’t hold any religious affiliation, I would qualify as a “None.” However anyone who knows me personally would say, “Wait! You talk about Jesus, say you follow Jesus, etc.” Yes, this is very true. I do follow the teaching of Jesus, someone who I believe was very anti-religious. In fact, frequently when Jesus found himself at “church”, violence erupted. I’ve talked about this some here, but that whole topic probably deserves its own blog post as well.

The point is, I don’t identify a religious affiliation, yet I do not consider myself secular. I’m not a “None.” I’m a “Done.” This term, “Done”, first came to me through a blog post by Derek Flood about being done. My lack of religious affiliation doesn’t reflect a lack of belief, instead it reflects my state of being done with religion. I’m done with the systems and institutions that have proven themselves unworthy stewards of the Divine.

The scandal of religion is that it never was really the steward of the Divine. The mystics, prophets and even Jesus himself all flow from a counter-religious movement that has always been present. In fact, I’m convinced, if I look closely at my own religious heritage, I have had the beginnings of being “Done” for much longer than I have been able to name and recognize it.

So yes, I’m done with religion. I’m not trying to start a new group, a new synagogue, a new church, a new mosque, a new temple, a new anything. The tribalism that all of these things carry with them is simply too much to overcome for whatever redeeming qualities they may have. This is a big shift for me. I’ve long held out hope that the next movement, the next organization would be different. I’ve been around religion long enough to realize that they aren’t. So, I’m “Done.”

This my sound very cynical. I hope and pray that in reality it isn’t. Don’t mistake this for something that it isn’t. I’m closer to God or the Divine (whatever word you resonate with) than ever. Losing the ties of religion has freed me to find the Divine in places I simply didn’t feel permission to find it in the past. I’m more alive, more free than ever.

Religion has the never ending pull towards tribalism that I’ve become more and more convinced we can’t escape. To identify as Christian simply carries too much baggage of things I don’t want to be associated with. The devaluing of women, persecution of minorities, creating taboo around sexuality, authoritarianism, false humility, devaluing of human experience, tribalism, the list goes on and on of things that are completely valid critiques of Christianity. The same is true of Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. There is simple too much done in these religion’s names that are counter to the law of love.

Islam cannot call itself peaceful. Why? Because if you want to be tribal, you take the load of the entire tribe upon you, including ISIS. Christianity isn’t peaceful. Why? because if want to be tribal, you take the load of the entire tribe upon you, including Donald Trump. Ahh, there I go, I just hit on politics. Well I guess this post has probably offended everyone now.

The point is, it’s simply too complicated, too confusing, too divisive to try to distinguish between the good and the bad that come with organized religion. For me, it’s better to be “Done” and live a simple life, ruled by love, that connects to God in my own way.

Also published on Medium.

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April 30, 2016 @ 1:25 pm Trackback URL

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