Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Problem with Preaching

It all came back to me this morning as I sat in the pew of my parent’s church. The frustration, anxiety and disgust rippled through my being as the young preacher hurled his hate filled message, thinly disguised as love, down from the pulpit. To be honest, I was rather shocked and left in quite a hurry when the message was finished.  
 
Even in this conservative church, one would think that a Sunday morning Christmas service should have the air of hope and joy about it. Instead of an uplifting message, I was greeted with a diatribe against anyone who dares question or reject the story of Jesus being incarnated in the flesh to die for our sins. It was revolting to witness all of the heads in the congregation nodding in agreement. Ugh, it makes me so angry just thinking about it. This message raised my ire, but it also made me think about the difficulties with preaching in general and one problem in particular. 
 
The real problem with preaching is that it is a one-sided conversation. People listening to a sermon are all too similar to people vegetating in front of a television; the critical faculties of the mind are too easily disengaged and they passively receive statements without questioning. Sometimes it is a great experience with a good story teller delivering a message about decent moral values. Other times it is a rancorous Bible thumper who tries to force a dubious message into your mind through sheer force of will. In the latter case I often wish for a Q and A session after the sermon or some type of forum with a balanced debate about the content of the message.
 
“Excuse me sir, could you explain why most of the Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, and Liberals that I work with are wonderful people with great personalities and an impressive work ethic?  Do you have any close friends with differing religious or political views? No? How do you think this lack of friendship and lack of experience with the “other” colors your perceptions? Maybe instead of raising your voice in self-righteous indignation from the pulpit you should do what the literary Jesus did and spend some time with the ‘other’. Only then will you possibly gain a measure of humility in your discourse about human beings who are largely foreign to you.”
 
I fear that with no opposing arguments or opinions, a lot of conservative-leaning congregations turn into positive feedback loops that whip people into a frenzy and demonize anyone with the slightest criticism of the message. 
 
Anyway, I hope all of you out there had a wonderful Christmas and please do not forget the real reason for the season, family bonding and appreciation for all of the good things that have happened over the past year.

A Scientific Awakening

What happens when you step outside the normal boundaries of reality? What happens when you are forced out of your subjective consciousness and into a more objective view of the world? It turns out that what CAN happen is a deep communion with all living things and a deeper understanding of the true nature of reality.

Understanding? To what end? Peace of mind and the alleviation of suffering. Seeing things correctly in the abstract realm allows us to solve concrete problems.

I’m calling this collection of writings my “scientific awakening” but I could just as easily call it my “realization of the objective nature of reality” or something of the like. I say “scientific” mainly in reference to the objective nature of my (relatively) new understanding. The scientific process being the best tool the human race has discovered so far for solving complex problems and discovering the underlying processes that rule this universe. As it so happens, the human mind provides us with a highly subjective experience, an experience that cannot be properly understood without an eye to the objective realm. A realm that does not actually exist, but actually a realm that accurately describes everything that does exist.

Since I was a young child I have been thrust into countless situations where I have been ripped out of my subjective consciousness and into a heightened state of reality. The main catalyst for this was my undiagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder. This disorder of the mind often heightened the sensitivity of my subjective consciousness to the point where my mind was pushed somewhere else, seamingly into a completely different realm of reality. A place where I was constantly forced to ask WHAT is happening? WHY? Why do I feel like this? Why is this happening? These are questions I hid in my heart for a long time and the answers were a long time coming, but they have arrived and I will share some of the answers I have found in the hopes that they will help you, the reader. So I invite you to step outside of your highly subjective consciousness, if only for a short while.

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