“What God wants God gets God help us all.” — Roger Waters
I was having a discussion with one of the more conservative members of our teaching staff. I get to support his class this year. He was teaching his students about making inferences by using artifacts from his own life. One of those artifacts was an invitation to his wedding. The wedding took place practically next door to where my wife and I were married. So, I made a small mention of it just to make small talk.
One of the things I have learned in my present job is that you have to make an effort to get along with the teachers you support. It just makes life easier for them and for me. He made a point to let me know that he had left the Episcopalian Church because they had started to ordain women and people with different sexual orientations as ministers.
The odd thing was that he knows where my political leanings are. He mentioned that some people pick and choose parts of the Bible to make their points without considering the entire context. That’s an interesting point given what he had just talked about. I politely made the point that I’m guessing I know more about the Bible than the average jackass out there. Then, he made a point that religion is man made and not something that comes from God himself necessarily.
I immediately thought of something John Pavlovitz said in one of his posts. Religion should be a path to God. Religion helps us to understand the nature of God. Religion gives us guidelines of how we should live our lives. Religion ultimately helps give life meaning. What Pavlovitz said is that our religion should make us better humans. If it doesn’t then you have the wrong one.
That’s what I thought about when I heard his complaint about who was being chosen as ministers. It is true that the Bible does not mention ordaining women. Of course, there is very little about who is ordained period. The early Christians certainly weren’t concerned with that and Jesus’ teachings usually bypassed the rules and regulations in Judaism. In other words, if a rule was preventing you from becoming a better person or being closer to God then it wasn’t a good rule. Either that or you were misunderstanding the rule and what it was intended to do.
This is ultimately what we try to teach our children. We ultimately want to become better people. If we are a better person then we have a much better chance of being a good Christian. If we are better people then those around us will want to emulate that and become that. They will want to know how we got on that path and how they can find their way. They won’t want to do that if we are not good people. That’s true whether we know the Bible from back to front or vice versa.
For some, religion is not the answer. Whatever the answer, it should challenge us to constantly become better people. There will always be a religion, church, club, or peer group that meets us exactly where we are. They will reinforce our prejudices and stroke our egos. They will interpret things exactly as we do and make us feel better about those conceptions. That’s true whether they are conceptions or misconceptions. It always brings us back to the basic question: do they make us better people? Do they make us more caring people? Do they make us more tolerant people? I certainly hope so.