I’ve been amazed over the last few days at how many folk have visited my old Post ‘ How To Recognize Dysfunctional Religious Attachments’. One commentator thought the title a bit of a mouthful, better used for the title of a thesis perhaps! Don’t I just love honesty on the blogosphere! Yes, the young lady in question has a valid point, so from now on my post titles will be much shorter and snappier.
So why more on dysfunctional religious attachments?
Well, simply because many of us still appear to have a psycho-spiritual itch that no-one has dared put a name to. To do so would risk immediate expulsion from the religious flock of choice. Since I’m long gone from the power plays of Sunday morning faith life I’ll step forward and put my spiritual neck on the religious block. Here goes:
Attachments are the invisible chords that hold us into a psychological dependency on a group, person or thing. Usually though they operate best on a person-to-person basis, often in the disguise of undying love or admirable commitment. They appear to be the chords of love but are far from it, for true love is cordless, releasing the beloved to roam at will. You can see why these attachments attach themselves to the matters of religious belief and practice. It’s a great breeding ground for them as they try to hide in the respectable setting of God and His people.
Attachments are clever little creatures. They can adapt chameleon-like to whatever surroundings they find themselves in. There are Catholic attachments, Protestant attachments, Orthodox attachments, Pentecostal attachments, non denominational attachments etc, etc. Even in the heightened environs of those who claim to practice authentic Christianity in their recovered New Testament church models lurk the dreaded attachments with their insidious attempt to lock up sincere folk within the Matrix of metaphysical desire.
Matrix? Where did that come from? Well, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll remember the shocking setting; rows and rows, tier after tier of embryonic bodies having the life sucked out of them by the merciless machines, as they dreamed of normal life. So to in our religious life?
I believe so.
As we sit in our pews or cushioned plastic seats each Sunday morning we’re lining up to suck a metaphysical certainty of sorts out of our pastor, preacher, priest in exchange for our loyalty. In other words, he/she dishes out the faith and we keep coming and perhaps more importantly, paying.
The psychic glue that keeps the whole sacred attachment show on the road is of course desire and its insidious offspring expectation. We want to know God. Wonderful! Yet this is not a desire in isolation – it has a not so hidden context. We want to know God like Pastor Joe or Rev. Jones or Sister Mary or ……….. This is the key to our dependency, the attachment that locks us into a quasi-like devotion to those who appear to dispense the very life of God. Of course any of us who’ve willingly played the role of spiritual dispenser on a professional basis knows that although we work for God we are in fact chained to our people for both authentication, approval and cash flow. Like a quick-sand that pulls one down into the darkness of death, the ministry game, whether paid or hobby-like in nature has many skeletons in its white-washed cupboards.
Well Dylan, that’s all very well but thankfully I only depend on Jesus!
Wonderful, but may I humbly make a couple of perhaps pointed observations:
1) If you genuinely depend on Jesus why not try giving up attendance at religious services or meetings for the next three months. I respectfully suggest that you might experience some cold turkey symptoms linked to people or group dependency on your newly acquired, quiet Sunday mornings.
2) I wonder if Jesus, or Yeshua as his Jewish mum called him, wants you to be dependent on him. Was the goal of the Nazarene to have a multitude of followers trailing like little puppy dogs or a band of brothers and sisters to join him in the Divine Dance?
Sadly most of us only realize our addictions when we try to give up the substance concerned. I’m sitting here in Cafe Nero, ( I know, not a great name for Christians!), my local coffee shop with my regular Americano in hand. If I’d skipped it this morning I’d most certainly have a headache by 1 p.m. So too with our religious habits.
What is it in our spiritual life that deep down we suspect we’re dependent on? What has hooked us into a religious dependency that we just can’t admit? Many of us, fueled by a fear of rejection, will fight tooth and nail for our spiritual fixes in the guise of zealous God lovers.
As we let go of our various religious Attachments it can appear that our spiritual life is about to rapidly go down the drain of non belief.
Alone in our vulnerability we shall feel the Divine Hand reach out to lead us in the Dance of Life. The Dancer and the Dance, a celebration of Union and freedom; the freedom to be and to give Love, no strings attached.