The Foundation of Good Religion

The foundation of all good religion,
world-wide
(Universal, should there prove
to be religions in other parts
of the universe)
is expressed in the four primary symbols
of Christianity–
devoid of the theology surrounding them:
Bread, Wine, Water, Cross.
The Water is the amniotic fluid of birth.
Every birth is birth by “water (and blood) and spirit,”
with the “spirit” being the spirit of life and being.
We are all united by the water of birth
and the spirit of life.
We are all alive,
but we have no idea what that means,
where life comes from
and where it goes.
We are awash in mystery from the first–
the foundational fact of good religion.
The Bread reminds us that the bread of affliction
is the bread of life.
The Wine declares that the cup of suffering
is the cup of salvation.
And the Cross does not represent
a vehicle of execution,
but the burden of growing up
and bearing the opposites,
the contradictions
and polarities of our life–
and it encompasses all of the initiation rites,
and rites of passage,
of the species,
as well as evidencing
the primary place
that trials and ordeals
hold in the life of all people,
serving everyone as the
impetus for growth and maturation,
and enabling us to discover
the hero who resides unknown within.
These symbols unite us all.
Everyone knows out of
our own experience
the validity of each one
and their place in our life.
They are the ground on which we stand,
the source from which we proceed
to form,
shape,
and define the life we are living.
And we need no theology
to tell us something we already know
by having lived it.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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