I went to a meeting of a belief system different than mine recently. This is fairly normal. Like in the story from Rumi of the five blind men in the room with the elephant, I seek to gain a fuller understanding of my Creator. I think there is only so much anyone can understand on their own, within their own community.
For example, my understanding of my own language opened up when I started studying different languages. Even something as simple as “I love you” just doesn’t translate sometimes. You can say “I love you” in German, but thinking that way isn’t part of their thought process. Their way of expressing love is more passive. It is not an action that you do – it is something that you receive. Their way of saying it is more like “Something about you causes me to feel love.” Hearing this helped me to understand the German people better. I seek the same kind of understanding with other faiths.
I took a test online on a site called Beliefnet, and it said that my answers matched fairly high with mainline protestant. Not a surprise. But I also ranked highly on Orthodox Quaker, and Hinduism. I also know that I like a lot of what Buddhism has to say, and that it informs a lot of my Christianity. Jesus can tell us all day long to love our neighbors as ourselves, but I’m the kind of person who needs a “how-to” list. Buddhism gives examples – Right Speech being one of them. Don’t say bad things about someone else. Got it. Then that was added to by a Jewish podcast I listen to. I leaned that if it isn’t true, kind, or helpful, keep it to yourself. Also – don’t even listen to gossip. Even listening gives it power.
The biggest part of my belief is summed up here. Part of realizing that there is a creator is that you are a creation – and that you are called to be a part of that creation – to create Heaven here. You are created to heal, join together, reconcile, make peace, show love, and lift up. I have come to feel that while I respect the right of every person to believe as they feel is necessary, I do not personally embrace any belief system that is inward-focused. I am for any belief system that turns faith outward and is about helping others.
Now, part of that is also about the mechanics of the organization. If the whole reason to raise money for the belief system is so you can keep the belief system going, then I feel they are doing something wrong. Jesus took the loaves and fishes and made more out of them, and fed thousands of hungry people. Joseph carefully saved up the grain that was produced in Egypt for seven years so that he could then give it away to the starving people in the famine times that followed.