The Evolutionary Process of Religion

To ask on another Rosh Hashanah, what did it mean to be a Jew? The harnessing of energy for a people, not for a nation based upon boundaries.

Love. The electives. The compulsaries. How to attract the next generation to an elective class?

Rosh Hashanah is either the end of one or a start of yet another year. Again asking what did it mean this year to be a wandering Jew, spread throughout the world, born into something? But in this evolutionary process, everyone was not the very same, because of the movement in the story of breakups and fragmentation, even involving prayer.

And so the story of Abraham, for a nomadic people. The movement in the story, to a mountain, with decisions about sacrifice and the method of prayer. What did it mean in this Akedah story for Abraham, an old man late in life in a totally pagan world, given finally a child, a son, but asked to kill Isaac? Facing the end of his line – or at least the end of Sarah’s line – what was the point of view of the participants? Again and again, the progression of the same theme of fragmentation. When you were judged to a large extent by your children.

What did it mean when prophets climbed mountains, hoping to elevate a people or a nation while sacrificing Sarah’s only child – if this was the start of the story of birthright and inheritance? So what exactly would Abraham leave behind?

Nomadic people as the outsider. Perhaps the unattached part that Abraham did not like to see in his sons — born in his image and formed in his likeness? When he has had enough. When the hope in the story was about his sons becoming more attached, less nomadic? But his sons do not just seem to get it. When whatever is the most important thing about his life has not come through to Ishmael, and later to Isaac.

The movement in the story, the unstated conflict, which came from an anger over the changing systems in a changing world – in this evolutionary process, even involving prayer. Amidst a people who never who have relied on evangelism but concentrated, at least for males, on circumcision – and on blood.

Love. The electives of relative love. With the compulsaries. The deepness response to the deepness within. Limited to what he could leave behind, why this mysterious story about the deepest part of your being, if you were a Jew? Mammals in the evolutionary process, when everyone was not the very same. The breakup, the fragmentations – like with the continents. To identify, after fragmentation, the wonder of all the differences. To feel the love of the world you were born into, as long as you were not sons/daughters of slaves, with all of the impositions. In the world to come, if you kept reading.

The emotions which came living in the world with the evolutionary process of change, note the intense fear if not at some point anger. And at every age doubt and uncertainty, for a new generation. In a story taking all of this so personally about meaning while facing death, what does it really mean for a people to be bound, for a son to be bound to these stories hundreds of years old? When the past collided with the future, to be so personally touched by sacrifice? To write deeply, from within, where did this deepness come from? Like the deep anger directed at Abraham, never really comprehended unless you had been there.

Time in the story. The pace. The restlessnes. The seen and the unseen in the story: with all the ignorance in the world, the imposition in the story. The human concepts of sacrifice to God, when people were considered things? Like in the days of arranged marriages – fathers did make all of the arrangements – Isaac constituted the fatted calf, like the best calf of the flock. The ritual, and Word and Isaac. Noble Abraham offering the best of all that he had. In a sacrifice from the perspective of Isaac, who was not freely given. Because the underlying theme in this story was that Abraham was better than Isaac.

When Judaism was based not on any evangelical door to door knocking but based on bloodlines, sacrifice, suffering. Chosen people, dealing with what it means to be chosen. The personal suffering when you were chosen, better than anyone else? Note the underlying theology of caste systems to come — in slavery — just because you were chosen. With all of the impositions, like in the story of the Akedah. If you were better than others, why couldn’t you kill, even your son? Note the mix of arrogance with pride in the story, in this foundation of faith story, with all of the impositions.

The Days of Awe are a journey in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering in the potential death of Isaac, just as Abraham had suffered with Hagar, and in his not described relationship with Ishmael? In this story of relative love, the conflict is when everyone was not the same – even the son of the father of faith. Isaac is going to die, and Abraham is going to live. With perhaps the unstated word being “forever.” In this story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN. (So what is the theology in Judaism whether there was really a hell, in the connection to this reading today?)

To move from this shameful story focused on Abraham to the rest of the life of Isaac. So what affect did the incident have with Isaac’s perspective about his father? What affect did this episode have both on Isaac’s relationships with his father and his God? That must have been some journey afterwards home for Isaac, to identify still – after fragmentation, in a world with this lost sense of belonging, in a world filled with deep fear – Isaac’s God?

In a relationship story, to so strongly develop a sense of belonging in the world, who was going to have to change and how? Is the dispute over who knows God best, and who is going to live? Is this the argument over punishment, over who is going to survive — in Abraham’s case, seemingly forever, based upon his age?

And was that what moved the focus of the story from one of death to that of atonement, with a form of love present in Abraham that was not quite unconditional? And when it came to relative love, Isaac’s viewpoint was closer to that of unconditional love if he was going to try to survive in this changing world? What had Abraham taught in the remainder of his life, in the way of atonement for what had happened?

Note the intensity, in the process of stirring, with the misconception that orthodox religions were just a set of beliefs, a set of cold rituals. There was fear which came alive when it was left to you, through your progeny, to carry the future, in this form of denial through sacrifice. And so the enforcement of the old ways in the major Abrahamic religions. In a world of breakups and fragmentation of families, of nations, even of religions, so the story from age to age about the harnessing of energy directed at exactly what had been inherited in birthright, for a wandering people – not necessarily for one nation just set apart based upon physical boundaries. When Judaism is a comprehensive way of life filled with contemplation of practices that affect every aspect of life, from morning til night. So personally.

So this intense story involving mostly prayer and its form of worship — about such personal forgiveness. The impositions to always remember. To forgive but not forget. If you gave deep thought to the life of Abraham.

The electives are connected to the freedom of expression, on both sacrificial worship how to pray with the freedom, or to not pray. At either the end of one life or a start of yet another. When it was the understanding which sons came to concerning fathers, in this story about a Living God and about belonging in the world on that day of Abraham’s self-discovery: funerals really are for the living, just as God is and was harnessing energy for a living people, not for a nation based upon boundaries. Through story.


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2 comments so far

  1. baseball91 on

    “You teach me relativity, Einstein.” So with the theme here “like who is the best,” bits of an article from Gail Rosenblum concerning how children from elsewhere found life in the United States strange.

    “Youth For Understanding (YFU) high school exchange director Robyn Lee-Dobbs of St. Paul has compiled a growing list of exchange students’ observations about American life – or, more specifically, life in Minnesota. The list is a reminder that, as global as the world is becoming, we enjoy odd behaviors that likely is not considered luxuries and odd behaviors here6

    “Many were surprised by school buses. They’d never seen them.

    “Stores open on Sunday. Unlocked bathroom doors. This cultural difference apparently has caused embarrassing moments for both host families and exchange students.

    “High school sports. This is a thoroughly American concept, Lee-Dobbs learned. “In other countries, sports are played outside of the school day as part of city programs.”

    “Attached garages. Fast food (they were amazed by the portions and super-sizing). Free refills. Huge refrigerators. Doggie bags. “After eating a full dinner at a restaurant,” one student explained, “we then ask for a doggie bag to take the rest home for later.”

    “Electric pencil sharpeners. Hand sanitizer. Hall passes. (“We have to get permission to go to the bathroom?”)

    “The appeal of attending a house of worship. ‘They talked a lot about church,’ Robyn Lee-Dobbs said. ‘They’d say, “If church was like this back home, everyone would go.” They liked how accessible it seemed.’
    They especially liked going to religious youth programs, ‘which always seemed to apply to them and what they were going through in their lives,’ she said. ‘Teenagers are teenagers no matter where they’re from.’
    And, teenagers being teenagers, they evolved over time until what seemed weird and strange started to grow on them.

    “A Russian student, for example, was perplexed about why everyone in Minnesota seemed so chipper. ‘Why do people talk to me?’ he asked Lee-Dobbs early in the school year. ‘Why are they so happy?’

    “After returning home 10 months later, he e-mailed Lee-Dobbs with a new observation.
    ‘Nobody says “hi” here,’ he fretted. ‘No one smiles!'”

  2. paperlessworld on

    And so the conflict of the future with a past, with a contemplated sacrifice, of everything with meaning, made out of a desire for more.

    RE: The spiritual dislocation by a new generation, in the next generation of nomads and THEIR children

    A woman on the Creighton online ministry website – Joan Blandin – last week wrote: “Throughout my life I have moved, relocated, and been transplanted. I have lived under the ‘authority’ of my parents,” relocating in her own life as a military dependent – a child or a wife – relocated 13 times until she became an instructor in a Spirituality Program, with her own certificate in Spiritual Direction. She was writing about how difficult it always is to run a national company of an international one, to get your brothers, as equals, to relocate, to move-on with the mission; she had been surprised to hear, about that the most difficult aspect of his role, mention as a provincial of a religious order, the conflict in asking your brother to move. Like the most difficult aspect of Cain’s role, as the tiller man, was in the dislocation from Adam and from Eve. With the account written in the perspective of afterwards, as you in the majority lose the living emotions. Because the writer and the reader know the end… and you so ruin, in the telling, the emotional part, as the story is conveyed to the next generation.

    In stories of dislocation — That God should be moved! Like by Abraham’s sacrifice…. with the account written in the perspective of afterwards, and the majority lose the living emotions. Because the writer knows the end. And if the writer was not there to witness and explain the emotions in the moments, then you as the reader did not really know?

    That God should be moved, by spiritual dislocation by a new generation, which is seeking the removal of all statues these days. Because frankly this generation is just so smart.

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