I walked into a church that I have not been in for a few years and was met with a barrage of questions that had me stop, listen, reply and then ask, “I haven’t been in your city for a few years, it is ok if I simply worship here? or shall I just go find another church?”
this is the element of life mark twain talks about with travel and how if you don’t go beyond that which is simply in your little spot of the world, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” can and does happen.
I don’t know if that is simply because this is how habits and ways of life happen in a space where familiarity breeds contempt with anything that is not known. one could write a proverb about a man that goes something like, “man doesn’t like anything he does not know.” this can expand to food, cuisine, people, cultures, races, creeds, cultures, and religions.
perhaps that is where I wonder about religion when traveling. if I wrote about how welcomed and unwelcomed I have been as a complete stranger on a journey, I think either people would either not believe? or they would not want to admit – “what? we welcome all! we are very inclusive!”
it is amazing how many times that is not the case, even in a place where the message is about loving your neighbor and having a space to heal yourself from all the faults, passions, and issues inside oneself.
perhaps it is simply easier to never look inside and really take a look of yourself and realize just how flawed one is. it is simply easier to look at everyone else and in the case of familiarity breeding contempt as well as events like yesterday, “hey, how are you doing? you been traveling again?”
it would go a long way from the ice cold reception guarding the doors of a church. it was odd, as I was the youngest person in the seats, watching altar boys bored to tears whose parents were not there attending with them…among some really good-hearted people, who have lived in one spot on the planet most of their lives. outsiders, different, and change are not words big in the overall local culture that works more like legalism and the things Jesus was trying to teach about mercy, the spirit of God, compassion, and forgiveness.
no…it was a difficult journey to get through the religious spirit that hung over the place, but that is the place I will go for a few weeks or I will have to look up some capuchin monks and simply wake up very early and walk to where they have services.
the irony there is few words are ever said, yet, you can sense and feel the spirit of god coming off each of the brothers.
life is indeed an interesting journey. don’t let yourself get literally stuck in rules, regulations, and traditions – it does more to kill of the life of the spirit than anything else I can think of.