Thursday, September 27, 2007

i no longer work for organized religion.

i was emailing back and forth with dave madden, a journeyer with balls and courage and beauty and a ridiculous amount of musical talent. love him. he and i were emailing back and forth about churches, and we were wondering what fucks churches up.
this is part of our conversation:

Dave to me:

I grew up Lutheran, and I've never developed an anger towards those people. My home church was awesome. Just a bunch of kind Germans drinking strong coffee. But then again, it was about the size that Journey is now. A lot of this is probably a size issue. Get a few thousand people together, be it church or town or college, and it's bound to have some problems.
I still drink strong coffee. And Martin Luther was a badass ninja/pirate.

Me to Dave:

Yep. I believe a LOT of it is how big the church/town/college/company is. The bigger? The more people with more hopes and more fears and more shit and more shadows and less accountability and more room to hide out.
There’s also the affliction that American churches have – and the bad part is, they don’t even know they're sick with it – which is, Americanism. It’s not different than when Jesus was around, except that it’s more high-octane now, especially in the age of information/ communication/ consumption. Americans see the corporate model, with hierarchies and structures and presidents and commodification and consumerism and committees and constitutions and votes and ownership and membership, as perfectly legitimate and normative. They don’t see that everything about it is not Jesus. That doesn’t mean it’s evil – it’s just not Jesus. Then, on top of that, there's the drive for excellence in performance and presentation and programs, which is extremely consumeristic, is sick and not Jesus. It makes the church members stockholders of a successful company and consumers of a successful product.
Add to that the dilemma that many, many, many pastors are egomaniacs with lots and lots of insecurities and hero complexes and shadows they're not facing. And the expectation that they be CEOs and spirtual leaders and financial wizards and pastoral counselors and perfect. All at the same time. Lovely.
Add to that the Christian sickness of emotional denial.
Add to that the pressures of everyone’s expectations on the outside being projected from their repressed emotions, and their being fooled by thinking that the church exists to Make Them Happy - ?
And what happens is a clusterfuck.
Which is where worked – organized religion in America – for 12 years.
I no longer work in organized religion.
... There is a God.

and, yes, Martin Luther was indeed a badass ninja/pirate.

- Rick

ps i was talking with a friend yesterday who said, When you got fired, and when you nearly burned out over and over working for churches, did you ever want to just say Screw it, i'm leaving organized religion; i'm not working for a church ever again?
i said, I did leave organized religion. i'm a journeyer. and i don't work for journey. journey and i work for god together.
she smiled.

pps this is not to say that organized religion doesn't do many beautiful things. it does. but it's not the right match for me, and my understanding of what jesus is about.
there are many, many pastors and church members who are not egomaniacs, who are not in shadow, who are not sick, who do not see their churches as existing to Make Them Happy.
but they're not who runs the system. i care deeply about christians and christianity. i care enough to say, Something's not as it could be.
hell, i love myself enough to say that to myself about my shadows too. when i can take it.


DM said...

rick's blog!!! i have truly made the big time!!!

you tell 'em, rick. i think i'm going to have to post this convo on my blog too. all people should know that luther was a ninja/pirare.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder if "organized religion" is an oxymoron?

And I think so because it seems to me that Creation is the razor edge of meaning/chaos and God is THE BADASS NINJA/PIRATE.

Rick Diamond said...

organized religion is an oxymoron, unless by "religion" you mean institution, artifice, machine. in which case, it's all about organization, flow chart, budget.

and yes, Creation IS the razor edge of meaning/chaos and God IS THE BADASS NINJA/PIRATE!!!!!!!!


Rick Diamond said...


and let's see ... what was jesus ... badass ninja/ pirate party dj/ radical troublemaker ... badass people-lover/ systems-fighter/ dreamer of badass dreams...