I had the experience of going to the "Born Again" Church today with Uday, like we do sometimes, as he is of that religion. Even though I am not religious and call myself spiritual, marriage is about compromise and doing things for your partner, so I went with him today, as I also did last week. Well, I must confess, I really like the cookies and munch kins they serve there! Uday has also made compromises by changing his life style and going to the Unitarian Universal Church with me, the few times I have gone to check it out. We also brought gifts for the Children in Haiti as the "Born Again" Church was sending gifts to them for the Holidays! (I agree with this and wanted to support this effort, a specific reason why we went today). Last week at the "Born Again" Church, a Christian guy who works for a Christian radio station, spoke about how it does not matter what you do outwardly - such as going to church and following the list of "Christian" type things (that can also be called "man-made rules"), but rather it is about having God in your heart. I left Church that day feeling a sense of relief knowing that this was a message these religious people needed to hear but often did not. I was thinking that this was a much better teaching than I have heard the "Christians" discuss before. This guy was saying: "don't be judgmental, be more like Jesus".
Unfortunately, today in church my experience was similar to the ones I previously had with "Born Again Christians". This is because, one of the things the Pastor was preaching was that whom ever does not believe in Jesus is not going to heaven. I guess that means, at the very least, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and the untouched tribes in Africa and the Amazon are not going to heaven! (if there is any such thing as a heaven). This is a typical theme I have run into since living in Florida from "Born Again Christians". Perhaps they say the same thing in the North, but I don't remember running into any people of that Faith during my life in New Hampshire or New York (just Catholics, Protestants, Methodist and the like).
Anyway, it got me thinking of an article by Virginia Heffernan which describes the "Sesame Street" they used to show on TV when I was a kid (1970's & 1980's) and how it has changed dramatically since then. In the article, Virginia writes about how they needed to change Sesame Street because they realized that in meaning to teach kids positive messages they were doing the opposite by accident. She writes about how, "Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes [and] Oscar’s depression was untreated". I haven't watched Sesame Street since I was a kid but according to Virginia, Sesame Street is new and improved. No longer are the days where it shows the following: "a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home." Although when the show aired in the past, it was innocent and perhaps ignorant, it meant well. Illustrating such things as, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Times were different and more simple then, but as times have changed, and I have grown up, so has Sesame Street. In time, I think this might be the same for the "Born Again Religion". They are baby's now making baby steps with large effects. Although they seem to mean well, I can't help but wonder if they are spreading negative messages (indirectly, like Cookie Monster) as much as positive messages. Ironically, history & the current times are proof of so much negativity from religions trying to teach the opposite. Like they say in Church, "there is a season for everything". Let's hope this "Born Again Religion" catches up to the new season of Sesame Street and works harder to only create positive messages to their followers.
I'll pray for them!!