Last week I wrote about a former church acquaintance who left the church altogether because he decided he didn’t believe it, whatever ‘it’ was. There was a dimension about his leaving that I didn’t mention. I rather admired the integrity of it, the intellectual honesty. None of us should profess to believe things that we don’t really believe.
There are many reasons cited about the importance of being a church goer: it will make you live longer; it makes for a more peaceful society; and the worst, from some televangelists, it will make you wealthy. This isn’t true religion; this is social control by manipulating the religious yearning innate in each of us. No, the only reason is that for you, it is actually and rationally true.
The point I intend to make is to underscore what I said last week, that we have to understand what it is we say we believe so that we can honestly say it. The church provides an abundance of resources, almost a bewildering abundance. It can be daunting to connect with a reliable resource, be it a text or a course of study or a group that meets regularly for prayer, study and mutual support.. The clergy are your best guide in making a right connection. Seek them out. Providing this kind of guidance is one of the most important things they do.
Remember that you are not to love God with just your whole heart and your whole strength but also with your whole mind.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 8-December-2015.