Being Zen about Christianity

Early Christianity, before it became sort of galvanized and Calvinized through persecution, was much more influenced by the more organic, populist, and nonviolent Zen and Gnosis than many suspect. But our church experience too often is that many sermons rob us of our common sense in broad daylight, and many churchy settings seem to have a knack for snatching spiritual defeat from the jaws of victory. Preachers should be teachers, and churches should be schools. But what happens more often than not is that preachers are liars, distorters, manipulators, child molesters, agents of the established order, and in short more ambassadors of (d)evil than of go(o)d. In short, they domineer and commandeer our humanity amid unfalsifiable theology mumbo-jumbo that appears to vaguely promise divinity. As a group, ministers are a lot like healers: some are driven by patient-end results and others by money contributed by the patient to feed the one family they really love—their own. The latter group are charlatans, and what they do is best described in the following terms: a con, a ruse, a scam, a hustle, and a racket.

With that said, how should the awakened congregant respond? One possible first step is to consider my role in this two-way dynamic that only seems on the surface to be asymmetrical. How am I fueling the flames of spiritual deceit? No one can be fooled who has not first fooled themselves. Take some time to take stock of how suggestible a person you are? How easily flattered are you? How invested are you in the worldly systems? Are you a manipulator yourself, who seeks to control the minds of those “beneath” you (such as your “woman” and your “young”)? How much of your daily life is spent acting (be it reacting or play-acting)? If the answers to any of these questions bother you, odds are good you’re part of the problem of Churchianity without even being ordained or appointed!

The secondary question is: How afraid are you to research beyond your pastor’s words? Of the preachers I can’t stand (i.e. the ones who aren’t teachers), some are dogmatic (ordering you on what to believe) while others are weak-kneed (ordering you not to cling fundamentalistically to any creed), but both somehow seem to create the sheeple effect in their aptly-named “flock”.

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