Workshop 4: Expand Connection
Building Communities “from the Inside Out”
Religion is the outward expression of belief that is held in the inward parts of the heart. Or is it? On the next page you will find a comparison chart of “Religion: Power vs Force.” On the left we have the “left brain” version of religion using the check list approach. These emotions register low on the energy scale eliciting fear, shame and submission. On the right we have the “right brain” version of religion, using words of empowerment that lift a person to a higher plane. Some might argue that you need both columns, while others lean more one way than the other.
What do you think happens when the outward expression on the left column is not backed up by the heart-felt emotions of the right column? Is it like a bank not having gold to back up their currency? Could this be why so many people get hurt by so-called religious people and often lose their faith in religion as a whole? People looking at religion from the outside have to be able to see believers who walk the talk in order to fully trust and commit to the truths these believers offer. Actions speak louder than words.
About 70% of Americans identify with the Christian faith. This number is down from 78% in 2007 due to the fact that about 1/3 of millennials have left what they call “man-made” religions to pursue something more authentic and meaningful. They have greater insight into racism, sexism, and religious division than their parents did. This insight makes it difficult to feel completely comfortable in a church setting that is often based on out dated values of judgment and separation. They often encounter the “my team is better than yours” mentality instead of the “we are one” belief system.
Millennials in search of something more heart-centered may have thrown out the baby with the bath water. It takes time through meditation and prayer to determine which religious concepts are “the baby” and which are “the bath water.” The baby is a precious life that we would never want to “dump.” The baby is the life-giving part of religion that makes us keep coming back for more or searching for another way to express our spirituality. But the bath water can be dumped without losing anything of value. The dirty bath water is the man-made pressure and judgement that places heavy burdens on our shoulders and limits us from creatively living our lives like a journey and an adventure. Jesus didn’t like this kind of religion either and told his follower to lay their burdens down.