Everything, good morning. Thank you for dancing us through another week, and thank you for this new day and new week. Help us to do thy will. Amen.
To my estimated 30 or so regular readers and the other 60 or so that I expect to happen past, this is just a bit of a recap of what I'm trying to do here.
Religion is important for many of us and for society as a whole. Many disagree, and with very good reasons, but they are confusing content with form. Instead of rejecting the very form of religion the proposal here is that religion needs major and ongoing reform, beginning with rejecting the supernatural and rejecting the canonisation of holy texts.
Religion is not just personal. 'Spirituality' might be a useful term if we are just referring to a person's private beliefs. Religion implies a shared system and (ultimately) an institution and an institutional layer in society. It has a uniquely placed voice in society - one independent from political and commercial interests and heartfully committed to the truth as it revealed to us through the living logos - including the sciences (-o-logies).
For shared narrative we have not only all the ancient texts of the world, but the unfolding work of writers, historians, researchers and scientists. For so many questions, the quest for truth is a shared one, in theory and practice.
God=Everything, is not only an ancient and historically prevalent equation, but is the basis of the unity of the whole religious world, and of all humans. Theologically, it is the first law. It unites science with religion. Even atheists believe in Everything and can swap notes intelligibly with pantheists as to their insights about the same.
There is no holy text, for text itself - Logos - is a sacred thing, in all its many forms, and is in a singular sense seeking truth. It is an imperative to teach all to be able to read and write and it is a sacred act to engage with logos - ie read and write.
I use these terms - 'Everything', 'Logos'. They don't matter at all. They are meanings that need names and I have attempted to find good names for them. They have many other possible names, but it is the meaning that I hope is interesting. (Just to be sure, none of these are new ideas.)
The basic value is that Everything matters, that life matters, that it matters that there is still a good world for our grandchildren, that there is high biodiversity and a healthy ecology, that people are nice to each other. Together we express our wonder for it all, our gratitude and our willingness to attempt to serve it for the best. We do this in song and we do this in verbal engagement, but we do it together, regularly. We want to do the Sunday morning thing. That's the idea anyway.
This is a consciously engineered system. For that reason it is highly vulnerable to critique and any element of it should be discarded if it proves indefensible. The objective is to serve the needs of people and of civilisation.
For individuals, the religion is designed to be empowering, respectable and defensible. In terms of individual practice it is designed with a minimum essential theology that it may be a viable personal basis for any number of spiritual practices, stories and rituals. It is meant to unite without stifling creative religious expression of all flavours.
The sermons up until now are sort of the 'first series' in my mind and are now the first draft of a small book outlining the basic system used here. While I'm working on this book, which will be mostly expanded and edited versions of the previous sermons, I'll see where future sermons go.
I don't really have a song, but I do love this one:
Everything, thank you for this opportunity to... um... blog. As usual I pray that my readers are blessed with keen critical discernment, that they may divide well words that are vain from those that might be fruitful, whether those words be mine or another's. So be it.