Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28: Joining a Monastery, Denominations, Differences

"Listen.  What's the routine on joining a monastery?" I asked him.  I was sort of toying with the idea of joining one.  "Do you have to be a Catholic and all?"

Holden thinks about religion and God a lot.  He's drawn to the idea of salvation and heaven.  He's looking for a place to fit in, to be a part of.  He doesn't really like the people he goes to school with.  He doesn't have many adults he looks up to.  His idea of paradise:  saving kids who are about to fall off the cliff into adulthood.  Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye.

I think everybody wants to fit in.  Everybody wants to be liked.  In the film Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams' character asks what is the purpose of poetry.  Several answers are offered, chief among them being to communicate.  "No," Williams' character says.  The purpose of poetry is to "woo women."  Everyone is the scene laughs.  But I think there's a lot of truth in what Williams says in that movie.  Poetry is about connecting, reaching out, being a part of something important.

So much of life is about disconnection and disharmony.  I've been a lifelong practicing Catholic.  For the last 20 years, ever since I met my wife, I've also been heavily involved in my wife's church.  She's a Methodist.  For the most part, I've always felt welcomed, accepted.  Sure, I've been the recipient of some good-natured kidding at my wife's church, but I would never characterize any of that kidding as intentionally cruel.

If religion is about exclusion, any religion, I have a problem with it.  Methodists think Catholics have too many statues.  Catholics think Methodists sing too loud.  I'm joking, sort of.  I think Christian denominations spend way too much time focusing on differences instead of similarities.  In my experience, Catholicism and Methodism have a lot more in common than either denomination cares to admit.

Lutheran.  Baptist.  Methodist.  Catholic.  Assembly of God.  It's all about salvation.  It's all about Jesus Christ catching us all at the edge of the rye field.  My worry is that too many people fall off the cliff because they're looking for a Methodist catcher or a Catholic catcher.

Saint Marty doesn't care.  As long as the Catcher is there for him when he gets to the edge of the field.

Catch me, Robin

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