What does this event mean to us?

Banksy, speaking of his new work,"Cardinal Sin", said:
"The statue? I guess you could call it a Christmas present. At this time of year it's easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity - the lies, the corruption, the abuse."

Having been personally all too aware of some of the issues of which he speaks, I sympathize with the sentiment. I too for a significant term rejected Christianity with repugnance.

More recently, however, I have found that the pilgrim path may be circular. I had had faith but found it wanting and, after long since setting it aside, decided to look again. I am the sum of all my experiences and since religion has been an important influence on my life in the past, I cannot ignore its effects in deciding who I am now.

My life's path has taken me on a long and winding road from my Christian origins. My experiences, thoughts and reflections had brought me to a somewhat agnostic view and I had not followed any organized religion for some time. An observer, however, might have seen me living in a way that seemed quite congruent with the principles taught by Christ. This does not displease me. Perhaps there is a spiritual DNA that informs our actions however our rational dictates characterize our worldview.

I find myself willing to consider the words of Lord Acton:

"To the symmetrical natures religion is indeed a crown of glory; nevertheless, so far as this world is concerned, they can grow and prosper without it. But to the unsymmetrical natures religion is a necessary condition of successful work even in this world".

I had always placed myself among the former but am now wondering whether that was an error in classification.

Although I understand Bansky's sentiments, they sadden me. We as humanity are a family with shared parentage but we have let the behaviour of some members make us reticent to believe that our family history has any value at all.

The sentiments that I expressed last year still resonate and have become even warmer since last Christmas.

What can we do to create an environment that fulfills Isaiah's promise? Instead of an angry polemic about "putting Christ back in Christmas" which blames those who have drifted (or run to escape), could we remember the statement by the one whose birth is celebrated? "You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?"

Instead of antagonism against those who have been disillusioned by the thorns and thistles, can we demonstrate the attributes of the vine that is sought? Just a thought.

Picture: The Nativity

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt ARA (1833-1898)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Like you, I grew up in a Christian home, and was taught the lessons that were put forth in the Bible. Though I often experienced feelings of awe or, fear (the church was notorious for leading through intimidation at that time), I believed the words that rained down from the pulpit.

As a young adult, blessed with the gift of free thought, I began to question whether what I had been taught was truth or propaganda. I struggled with that for a long time, while continuing to uphold the virtues of Christianity. After looking into various other forms of religion (I longed for the "structure" of church), I found myself returning to my roots, which, I was happy to discover, had eliminated its "fear factor," and had begun speaking more of God's grace than it did of hell and damnation.

The point of my long rambling comment is that I am not sure either of us ever really lost the faith or Christianity that we were taught. We questioned, yes. But that is a good thing! We should question. And through it all, we continued to live our lives based on those 10 commandments. Something from those early roots, clearly resonated with us, or we would have made other choices in life.

Merry Christmas, my friend. Wonderful post!

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