One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part One

children_praying
In the last post I said, “I want to tell a story”.  I also said certain people wouldn’t like it…

I’m not sure right now how many posts it will take to tell the story. It starts in the dim past and soars into the unseeable future.

The story won’t have a lot of detail but it will have a lot of emotion. The beginning is my early time on our earth as well as the early time of our human family. It’s very easy to see the stages of an individual’s life mirroring the infancy, youth, adolescence, and maturity of humanity.

Before I launch into the beginnings, I want to give the links to a document and a site that explores the document—they’re the immediate stimulus to my needing to tell this story.

The document is One Common Faith—a deep and scholarly exploration of religion (that’s the reason some folks won’t like this story…).

The web site is Changeless Faith—dedicated to a multimedia learning process that dives into One Common Faith  and helps you connect with it in a personal way. {if you’re not the type of person who regularly reads deep scholarly documents, I’d recommend starting with the “Companion” part of the site rather than the “Document” part—you’ll get a simpler introduction to the concepts and appreciate the full document much more}

The Story

I was born in 1946 to two Christian ministers—mom and dad. I feel lucky to have had such an early introduction to serious religious life. I’ve felt conflicted about the deep problems I’ve had to struggle with to unravel the mystery of Who God really Is—mom and dad or the Ineffable, Unknowable Creator.

I think our earliest ancestors had a somewhat similar problem. The members of our human family who lived during our infancy had to struggle to co-exist with the powers they encountered and they developed various theories about a Power that ruled over those powers. Lightning or earthquakes are powers (so are mom and dad); why do they happen and what causes them? Later in the story, we’ll look at the scientific understanding of this issue but it won’t be easy to leave behind the ultimate Mystery about the Origin of our life and struggles in this earthly home…

I went to church four or five times a week. Our early ancestors worshiped in the constant cathedral of nature.

I trembled and uttered inner prayers that my soul wouldn’t be damned by my parents. Our earliest ancestors shouted and danced to appease the gods—inner and outer.

I asked my Sunday School teacher questions she couldn’t answer. They went to the medicine woman and were instructed to perform rites they weren’t expected to understand.

I mostly behaved but grew up to be quite impulsive and rebellious. They did what they had to do to survive and sometimes killed the members of other tribes.

To be continued…

Spiritual Quote :

“It is a great mistake to believe that because people are illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well look on us with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and respect their ancient descent, and who feel that they will be interested as we are in a living religion and not in the dead forms of [many] present-day churches.”
From letter written on behalf of Shoghí Effendí to the Comite Nacional de Ensenanza Bahá’í para los Indigenas de Sur America, September 21, 1951

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when the gods descend …

By Grass Routes | Location: India | 05/05/08
Once a year in the holy town of Puri on the east coast of India, the Gods enter the fray of the common man to mingle with the mob.Attracting thousands of pilgrims, the annual Festival of Faith is an orchestrated riot of colour, spectacle and sweat. Steeped in folklore and mythology the origins date back centuries, but its significance as a festival ‘of the people’ reigns.

Massive crowds gather on the streets all vying for a chance to set eyes on their Gods. A motley crew linked by faith, devotion in their hearts and sweat on their brow, their anticipation and excitement is palpable.

The grand scale of the festival requires scrupulous coordination from the entire community, all prescribed to pitch in for the BIG event. Immense chariots are erected in the town square meticulously crafted and decorated by master carpenters and artisans. Children writhe in the hands of make-up artists, while dancers and performers drape themselves in rich costumes and musicians polish their instruments.

Leaving the lofty confines of the temple, the sacred deities are carried into the town square in a theatrical display of elaborate ritual. To the tune of percussion, chants and fervent devotion the Gods are seated in their respective chariots and physically hauled through the teeming streets.

The euphoric atmosphere verges on chaos at times, but the cacophony of colour and crowds is as overwhelming as it is enthralling. An assault to the senses, all in good Faith!

Bigger than Pushkar Fair and second only to the Kumbh Mela, nothing exemplifies the spirit of India more. Join Grass Routes celebrate the magic and mayhem of India’s most electrifying festival.

For more information: http://grassroutesjourneys.com/html/tour_festival of faith.htm
Or Call +91 9437029698

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