Saints of actual virtue, without bureaucracy or churches, shine bright in life and death. But people like to roundup numerous human intercessors and are fond of titles and royal attire. It’s advantageous for church leaders to create saints, the better to awe followers, the better to consolidate power, the better to give each one the desired personal object of devotion. But why must objects of devotion be the province churches and conventional religions? Do not objects of devotion surround us at every turn of life? And why should the modes of reverence be prescribed by ancient scribes and conclaves of old men? Saint makers, power brokers, strategists, bureaucrats—how will pure devotion flourish under the weight of such medieval inheritance?
The memory of some glows unrealistically white in death. Well good for reverence and good for optimism, but especially good if we could simply love the good without so much devoted whiteness of perception, and without intercession of plastic priesthoods. Let all good works be approved without layers of ceremony and the collective judgments of old men.
Whatever is good beneath robes is nourished from within. I bow before it. But how many royal layers does it take to suffocate a good man? We can survive the surround of old stones, but heavy walls of thought and emotions shut out most of the light.
We love the beautiful, but remnants of the beautiful are overlaid with ages of human error, and worldly saint makers compete with sanity and simplicity. The half-deceptions, the old dirges, the crazy human mix suffocates slowly–we learn sleepwalking with just enough real magic to keep us circling. Churches bind with nets of ancient magic, and the sins of the devoted are washed imaginatively white– for a price. The magic is neither black nor white, which suits the lazy, sleepy median. Ugliness woven with threads of truth serves millions, and remains a distinctly human concoction.
And to those who have subjugated women for ages, to those whose minds run in stagnant theological rivulets, to medieval theologians and politicians—to these I say the church of stone and worldly power is dead. Service lives, and virtue lives, but its needs are simple and unconfined. But the spider web of theology does not serve and is dead; control by fear is dead; materialism and stones and worldly power is dead; half-truth is dead. Let the last clamors of prejudice depart into silence.
I expect in death that saints have a ceiling of stars and sky yet I cannot but think that love of old stones dies. Certainly it pales next to the grand canyons of earth or any of the billion lights in the deep sky. It surely pales next to the greater canyons cut by curving walls of stars. I think stardom and the star-dome takes on new perspective in the light of death, and I cannot think a single great soul approves being named a saint.
If I were Christ, I would use, not a man-made building, but the whole world as my Church. I would adopt all humanity as my “chosen people.” I would not confine myself to religions or any particular religion. I would take the whole field of human culture as my spiritual abode–all art, all philosophies, all sciences–every good in all I would make my church. Every child, every man, every woman, I would draw to me without regard to the phrases on their lips or the pictures in their heads; I would regard only the heart. I would not prescribe forms for worship through buildings and ceremonies or hierarchies of old men. I would spread myself on the wind; I would sweep through all the world, through every gleam of light I would make my way. I would insert myself into the quiet thoughts of every good man, woman, or child. I would abolish creeds, theologies and archaic language. I would teach a new language, one not of old forms but of a pure new spirit.
People use the word “faith” to cover a multitude of intellectual and emotional sins—dishonesty, fear, lack of commonsense, and justification of childish concepts. It is known that the hierarchies of humans bolster their power by encouraging ignorant faith. In the lower sense, faith leads to worship of man-created images and acceptance of unfounded authority based on fear, self-interest, and unthinking desperation to escape the surrounding chaos. People look up with dim faith and try to build religions out of God but mostly build them out of themselves. They look up and sense only a tiny part of a picture, adding their halting often-discordant colorings to everything.