I’m a great fan of religion. I’ve spent my life studying religion, reveling in it, teaching it, living it. I love it because religion is an infinite well of weirdness. No matter how deep you go, there’s no end to the weirdness. No matter how much weirdness you uncover, there’s still more weirdness to unpack. This is just as true of Christianity as it is any other religion.
Christianity might seem less weird than, say, Hinduism, with their elephant-headed god Ganesha, but it isn’t. It just seems more normal because we’re used to it. God became a man, allowed himself to be killed, and then rose from the dead? Yeah, that’s pretty weird. You don’t even need to bring the bird into it.
But it’s also profound and wise. This is true of all religions. They endure because they continue to speak to us. They endure because, at some level, no matter how weird they seem on the surface, deep down they are also true.
At Grace North Church, we are Christians, and we worship in a Christian fashion. We celebrate and contextualize our lives according to the Christian story–and yes, we celebrate it’s weirdness, too. But that doesn’t mean that we think it’s the only way to God, or that it is the only religion that has deep wisdom. Far from it.
I love Christianity because it’s my family. I love my family, but I don’t think it’s better than other families. I love going to dinner at other family’s houses, and their food is just as nourishing, but I always love coming home, too.
We honor the wisdom of other traditions at Grace North Church by adding a reading from a non-Christian scripture (like the Tao Te Ching or the Upanishads or the Buddhist Sutras) to our regular readings from the lectionary. Sometimes they echo the wisdom of the Gospel reading, sometimes they challenge it, sometimes they throw it into a fascinating new light.
We cherish our brothers and sisters of faith who belong to other families, who follow other faith traditions. We recognize in them the same divine love we experience in our own faith. We honor them and their wisdom.
We also love the weirdness. We honor it. And, in the spirit of interfaith goodwill, we hope that you can honor what is wise in our faith, and enjoy what is weird about it.
Wisdom and weirdness. It’s everywhere you look.