Hoop Jumping

Another enlightening and fulfilling morning was spent with my new discussion group (seeking group, small group etc). I love this group because nothing is off limits. Today part of the discussion centered around religious hoop jumping. Religious hoop jumping is a sport that many of us have been training for our entire lives. We practice jumping through the hoops and strive to win the medal and yet we never get to stand on the platform and say "I did it." Instead we just keep on jumping because that is what someone told us to do or because "its in the Bible" or because it "brings me closer to God."

Hoops are things such as prayer, baptism, communion, going to church, reading the Bible. Things that it may be assumed every "good Christian person" should do but aren't really explained all that well anymore. They've become rote. And those on the outside looking in want some more background as to why we do some of these silly rituals.

The question quickly came up, "If my belief and love of God is what I need to get into heaven, then do I need the hoops?" My answer was no. But this response quickly gets drowned out by the religious terrorists (think of the Church Lady) that make us believe that the hoops are mandatory.

For me, the hoops are a means of experiencing God. I don't always experience God through them but have at times. And I'll gladly jump again if it means I can just catch a glimpse of what God is. Just for the hope to see God again is worth the dizzy hooping I do.

On the other hand, some of my non-hooping activites help me to see God too. I see God almost daily when I go for a walk and I saw God today in the coffee-shop in the eyes of the women in my group.

Is the "Kingdom of God" near? At times I feel like heaven is on earth. At times I feel like I'm living in hell. And I've experienced both while jumping through hoops.

So should we stop jumping through hoops? Probably. But that doesn't mean we should give up things that help us experience God. I guess its up to each person what those may be.

Until Everyone Hears,

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