Control Vs. Freedom

08Nov08

I don’t think any of us would openly admit that we seek to manipulate others, much less say that Jesus is a manipulator (us being Christians… I suppose those opposed to the Church might think differently). However, in dealings with fluid beasts that are religion and morality, I’ve noticed that this is exactly the approach many of us take, myself included.

I was reading “The Ragamuffin Gospel” today (it’s a great book, I highly recommend it) and I have to share this with you (he pulled it from Eugene Kennedy):

The devil dwells in the urge to control rather than liberate the human soul… We stand by a dark forest through which fearful religious and political leaders would force us to pass in single file through their exlusive pathway of righteousness. They want to intimidate us, make us afraid and hand over our souls to them once more. Jesus saw such shadowed forces as the corrupters of the essential nature of religion in his time. They are no less so all these centuries later.

I’ve noticed one of my own great self-deceptions is convincing myself that I’m serving God by controlling. Controlling my own future (by elevating my plans over God’s), the people around me (judging and pressuring them to abide by my own twisted morality; threatening to exclude them if they don’t obey), and even God (by telling myself that I’ve done X good deeds and now God owes me Y favors). In this way, my urge to control utterly negates any gospel of Grace, any sense of unconditional love, and any kind of faith whatsoever.

Think about it: instead of frowning on people who believe differently than you, maybe you could have enough faith in what you believe and the universal rationality behind it (if there is any?) that you can have a free conversation with the other person without actively trying to make that person believe what you believe. Maybe you can trust your faith enough to believe that if this other person thinks about it enough, (s)he’ll arrive at the same conclusions that you’re coming to? That is, with the premise that truth is universal and that you’re also actively seeking the truth and not just blindly following the religious and political systems that Kennedy talks about above.

Some food for thought.

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