Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Value of a Religious Life

I'm rarely disturbed.(lol Ok, maybe not rarely.)

Still, it is very disturbing to hear how the faith community is suffering during these hard times, Religious life won't be the same after downturn

That people don't naturally gravitate now to church, temple, mosque or another faith community concerns me on two levels.

One, they are likely missing a very key ingredient in their ability to thrive: Hope.

We all need encouragement, forgiveness, inspiration. Sure, we can find it other places if we look hard enough. But where can we get all those at once? It's an efficient use of your time.

People who regularly attend services also get human contact and support. You connect to others, some worse off than you, others better off. But everyone is just there being children of G-d (or Gods :)

And then, while you are there, you can offer those same gifts to others - love, support, encouragement, hope.

It's no surprise that people who go to church at least once a week are healthier and live longer.

Especially now, it's a good idea to tap into your Spiritual side.

If you don't have one, think about getting one. It's just part of a regular, healthy lifestyle. :)

Btw, being "Religious" has gotten a bad name. It's a bad rap in itself. I can find absolutely no foundation to the idea that because SOME religions are a disaster therefore all religion is bad. Usually it is branches, distant offshoots, of a decent religion, and more specifically those crazy radicals (G-d love em) who twist dogma beyond recognition. Radicalism has a lot to do with the problem of giving anything a bad name - religion, politics, exercise.

So don't throw the baby out with the bath water. This thinking is so simplistic. Weak weak vaporous argument. Aren't we capable of more complex thought patterns? Hundreds of thousands of good congregations are out there. They aren't perfect, but who is? It's messy to come together and agree on stuff. The healthier the parts, the healthier the whole.

If the first reason to turn to your faith is mundane: it is good for you, your health, and your community, the second is a bit loftier, but also easy.

Maybe, just maybe, it works.

If G-d is watching us, as I believe, then it's got to be in stereo too.

Why wouldn't G-d, who is beyond our even most basic comprehension, hear our prayers?

Even NOT praying is a form of prayer. Maybe anytime we give attention to something it is a form of prayer. If we intentionally add prayer, like I often do when knitting, then it gives more, well, power or energy to what you are doing.

So prayer and practicing your faith are a way of shifting energy.

If all is holy, as the Kabbalist believe, even into the depths of Hell there exists a spark of G-d, then every thing is holy. Including your walk in the morning, your tennis at night. Burning dinner. Crashed finances. Grief. Loneliness. Joy. Sex. Fashion shows with toddlers in BIZARRE dresses. Crazy dictators speaking at the UN. Mobs of cattle, also known as Congress, running into a river and drowning. Young talented girls winning at tennis tournaments. People trying to dance. Floods that ruin everything. Falling down. Getting up. Especially getting up.

But still, make a practice of your faith. Go be with your people. Support them, let them support you. Be inspired, find Hope, exercise your Faith muscles :)

And know that even doing it "badly" is holy ;)

Big Grin.

Love and Joy

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