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Hi, it’s me, reporting to you live from my self-imposed religious exile, on Easter Sunday morning, 2008. The mood here is a bit melancholy, I’m afraid. Feeling adrift and homeless casts a sad shadow on the hope and celebration of Easter, I admit. On the other hand I have to say I truly wouldn’t have it any other way today. Maybe next year I’ll be settled enough to celebrate, but this year, again, I must abstain from the festivities.

I considered, briefly, the possibility of attending an Episcopal or Anglican service today, knowing I would thoroughly enjoy the ritual, the pomp, and the beauty of the experience, but no.

A few years ago our family attended a service at Lookout Mountain Community Church on Christmas Eve. Peter Hiett was speaking as “Larry the Sheep Guy.” Larry explained that our idea of proper religion, with our seriousness, our ritual, our stained glass, and our holy observances was just an elaborate game of “hide the stink” – flawed humanity desperately trying to cover the human condition in a show of manufactured holiness. Meanwhile, the true message of Christmas was one of the divine being born in the midst of smelly, messy humanity. A religious switcheroo, an ironic game of hide and seek, God hiding holiness in a pile of stink.

GET IT?

Yup, I got it. Got it so much I was ruined. Considering the history of the Christian religion, I came to the conclusion we missed the point entirely, beginning with the Catholic church and it’s idea of holiness, hierarchy, exclusiveness, ritual, mystery, and fear. The Episcopal church is just a difference in etiology, I’m afraid, plus the doctrinal influence of the Reformation. I love it, but aren’t we still missing the point?

There’s always Protestantism, Evangelicalism, and the Charismatic, of course. Been there, done that. Can’t do it any more. So here I am, feeling just a little sorry for myself, in the deconstructed rubble of my own religious landscape.

Doubly ironic is the sense I have of being asked, by what I can only describe as God, to exercise, well, faith. A hopeful assurance that I am held by divine love, that I am on a journey not alone, that I am invited to participate in a joyful stream of spiritual life and goodness, if I could just stick my neck out a little and believe. Take a risk or two.

Imagine my chagrin when I realized that what I had considered faith wasn’t really faith at all, but the security that came from assenting to a coherent theology. Who knew I could feel the tug of the divine outside the confines of ideology, in the midst of my messy deconstruction. How divinely ironic – or heretical – depending on your perspective.

That’s how the Easter egg rolls this year.

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