‘The Greek Orthodox Church: an institution that wants the devotion of its subjects badly enough to threaten them with damnation if they don’t attend it, but not badly enough to translate the old-language texts with which it addresses its subjects so that said subjects may be part of the service. An institution that has veered from the essence of its Lord’s teaching far enough to be on par with the Pharisees, whom Christ rose up to confront in the first place.’ ~ THE OTHER DIMENSION
They ask me why I don’t go to Church during Easter. Why I prefer to spend time alone, secluded from others.
Simple. I’m a semi-gnostic / agnostic spiritualist, meaning that I believe in a higher power, a Demiurge of sorts, but have little faith in organized religion. The way the Greek Orthodox Church goes about its business is ridiculous in my eyes, and so are the ways in which the faithful observe its diktats, especially in this day and age. In the best of times, the faith is a glorified stage performance, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it remains within the confines of civility. Now it’s nothing but a second-rate circus, at least on the island of Cyprus.
Here’s how it works. Going to church in Cyprus is a sure way to feel possessed by the vile spirit of mindlessness and corruption against which Jesus Christ rose up in the first place. All-round sanctimoniousness and showing-off. The pretense, the noise, the fanfare and carnival. The endless gibberish. Listening to a service delivered in the old tongue, which no one fully comprehends, is a waste of time, not to mention insulting and dangerous. The refusal of the Church to adapt to the times is exactly that, insulting and dangerous, if not self-righteous and mean-spirited.
Above all, I am unable to swallow the irony of it all, the fact that I’m attending liturgies and sermons delivered by self-righteous preachers and their minions in a manner I can’t understand or engage with, sermons and liturgies concerned with the actions of someone Whose call to Divinity was His defiance and rejection of high-handed preachers. The godly rebel known as Christ rose up with hubris, challenging the Pharisees and Sadducees and all authoritarian clergy, casting aspersions on self-righteous agendas, calling the world to engage with the word of God in terms that made sense on both mental and spiritual levels. He ‘translated’ the Scriptures for the average person, inviting people in, and used simple allegories to relate His message to the audience, sharing the wisdom.
So please tell me, how the hell could I ever go to church today? Why? To hear today’s Pharisees go about their business in a manner that is all too reminiscent of yesterday’s Pharisees — all in the name of Christ, no less, the rebel Whose very essence was opposed to ‘business as usual’? The irony is too great. The disrespect to the teachings too deep to ignore.
No. I prefer to spend my time not in congregation so that I may remain a little closer to the divine / inspired message, for what it’s worth. I stay away from the church to keep my spirit a little less tainted and a little more open to the notion of something truly otherworldly.