Two Religions in Every Religion

God is so much bigger than we think. So many people know God in this world, and yet something has gone terribly wrong. I think many religious leaders have resorted to a type of tribalism and have usurped these religions trading compassion, mercy, and tolerance for submission to the leader or the leader's interpretation of the religion. I have seen the beauty of several religions as a member, but I have also suffered at the hands of leaders within a couple of these religions. Having spent my teenage and much of my college years as a fundamentalist Christian, I believed wholeheartedly. But I suffered at the leader's hands suffering a humiliation by being excommunicated and shunned by them for who God made me. I fled to Roman Catholicism, having come to know several liberal, compassionate priests who cared for the poor, who taught me to find God in holy silence. I over the course of years became a monk, but did not last long having my first exposure to the other kind of Catholicism. The type I encountered demanded submission and conformity. Questioning things was discouraged. When I left the monastery, I left Christianity, angry and confused. Years later I encountered the Bhagavad Gita and its message of many different ways of seeing or serving God. Hinduism provided me with a vision of a God who has many different faces and is able to be known in so many different ways. I still hold this to be true. My mistake was in following a guru who was not healthy- including sleeping with his devotees. And so, I returned home a different person, wounded yet healed, but still bearing the scars. I see God as beyond description and yet able to be seen as having 10,000 faces - masculine, feminine and even as non-human descriptions. I find the message of the Gospel of Thomas to be a universal message...we are all sons and daughters of God. There are many messengers yet each person must discover that truth themselves in their own way in their own understanding and expression of it. There are two religions in every religion...I have found in each one so much beauty, compassion, and holy mystery. Sadly I have also found those demanding blind obedience, preying on fear and manipulation.

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