From dont-judge-compare-or-try-to-fix-others by David ben Alexander
A young Rabbi friend of mine once praised me, suggesting that my ongoing contemplations about God, given that I’m an adult in my forties, are a testament to my relationship with God. My back-and-forth struggle with the concept (even though I lean more towards doubt than belief), as he framed it, is better than the apathy of many (most?) adults who don’t much think about the issue at all.
Of course, to an extent, these are heartening words, just as my friend intended them to be. The idea is nice, right? My relationship with God is more real and relevant to me than it may be for so many others. I’m so especially spiritually sensitive and attune, you see.
However, that conversation of ours and that statement of his in particular continue running through my mind, and I find that they grate on me. The more I reflect upon this idea, the more uncomfortable I become with the sentiment.
Believe it or not, it is up to you.David ben Alexander-Don’t judge, compare, or try to fix others – The skeptic’s kaddish (skepticskaddish.com)
Providing spiritual care
One of my dearest friends studied chaplaincy under Rev. Landon Bogan, Director of the Center for Pastoral Education at Stanford Health Care; and she occasionally shares professional insights and experiences with me from her work in the field. Quite recently, this friend related a piece of wisdom to me from Rev. Bogan, which provided me with some clarity on my conversation with the young rabbi:
“Don’t try to judge, don’t try to compare, and don’t try to fix when providing spiritual care.”-Rev. Landon Bogan Don’t judge, compare, or try to fix others – The skeptic’s kaddish (skepticskaddish.com)
Must be sought. I don’t think David, the author here, actually asked for Pastoral Care, it seems to me that an off hand, meant to be encouraging remark, just harmartiad its way to bring irritation, rather than the encouragement intended.
The role of Religion
For the purpose of this comment Religion and Religious practice play a vital role in who we are and how we interact with the world. It is said ” Religion can be a central part of one’s identity.” Keeping in mind that one without Religion also interacts within their world based on a world view comensurable with their beliefs. It is not just a Certain Religion or practice thereof but of every Religion and Practise -whether that Member be Secular or Devoutly practising the Faith .
Non sequitur “Jacob was renamed Israel because he struggled with God and with men and prevailed.” Genesis: 32:28, it may be blasthemy but whenever we struggle with God and prevail we do not necessarily become a member of the God party since prevailing also includes remaining faithful to our Religion of Secularism,Secular Humanism, Agnosticism, or Atheism. Neither when we prevail with men and with God do we necessarily follow the promt to change our Religion or the practise therof.
Our little Rabbi may have been creeping up to David with just how much enriched the practise of Religion might be compared with just being a Jew to whom the history of his people is made meaningful in the keeping of the High Holidays and traditions.
When we are having “THAT” conversation we must compartmentalise our own beliefs and really listen to the other, it is their story and if it seems to threaten ourselves, in anyway, then we had better think twice about engaging in “THAT” conversation. And fix ourselves first. We cannot have the ‘blind’ or the ‘play it safe’ leading those dawning on enlightenment which is the Light of their heart not the ceding to another’s ideal.
Our growth, as wholesome and Integrated people, depends upon our engagement in these struggles with God and man until we arrive in the happy place of assurity.
Religion is merely Rules(Measurements) and regualtions (Compliance) – you actually don’t have to do so by engaging personally, just having the thought that if I do this I might be saved from whatever it is to be saved from and if there is no such thing then I can’t lose either way.
So the little Rabbi thought methinks.
Ask the Seeker what it is they actually want to do!Provide them with the Tools to do so, answer their questions orthodoxly rather than from within our own system. Don’t tell them any Parables or Alliterations meant to create negative ideas about themselves because they are not yet ready to measure up(to the way we think they ought be).
Never let it be said that ‘it would be better for [us]to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around our necks’ than to cause one of these [little ones] to stumble. Luke 17:2
When listening to anyone there is no us only them, until they actually ask us what it is we believe or think about the issue….then be careful what we say.
In finishing I reiterate the statement by the rev. Langdon Bogan:
“Don’t try to judge, don’t try to compare, and don’t try to fix when providing spiritual care.”
Let it be.