I had previously seen no problem allowing ads on my blog page until I checked it this afternoon and was appalled to see adds for the cult of Scientology on my page. Adios adds!
Friends and neighbours, I will be the first person to say that any way one chooses to express their faith is their business and they are entitled to do that, however let me also point out a couple of facts which should be obvious to anyone with a pulse:
1. Any institution which charges a fee for spiritual enlightenment is not actually interested in your peace of mind.
2. Any institution which does not encourage its followers to continue in their academic education or to mingle with people who have different beliefs is afraid that the more informed people get, the less their beliefs will be able to stand up under the searchlight of rationality.
3. Any institution which professes to have the answers to all your questions is, in all likelihood, blatantly lying to you.
An add once came up on my Facebook page for a revolutionary new technique to learn guitar scales. You`ve seen these prepackaged spiels before: "10 foods that burn off belly fat" and when you click on the add, you are treated to a scroll-down odyssey complete with a video of some woman wearing a convincing blue power suit, teaser clips of people looking frustratedly at their bathroom scales, before and after pics of two obviously different people and written testimonial from Chris in VA.
But back to the guitar scales They were, of course, charging a hefty fee for said product. Caveat emptor, so I Googled this product for reviews. What I got was a series of comments from people who said that what they received was a book of scales and a schedule of practice times. Reviews of the product were unanimously negative. Many commented they could have gotten all the scales online for free, and that any moron with a piece of graph paper could have drawn up a practice schedule.
In reality, there was no revolutionary mnemonic trick to help you commit the scales to memory or to help you visualize them, or to help you integrate them into an actual song.
The reality is this: for many things, if there was a better way, it would actually be THE way.
There is no substitute for actually making an effort and doing the work, whether that be practicing scales, losing weight or plumbing the depths of our beings.
I am a huge fan of Joseph Campbell, and in his excellent series of interviews with Bill Moyers entitled The Power of Myth, he once said that religion was not a matter of communally finding answers to life, but that it was a communal search for an experience of life. Taking this im my own Anglican context, I understood this to mean that church is not about actually finding definitive answers to life's great questions, but that it was more about gathering us together into a community where we can explore the questions together.
Based on my interpretetaion of what Campbell said, I once commented in a sermon that the church cannot provide answers, but that we can at least all be confused together.
I realize that might not be what people want to hear, but if you want answers, try Scientology.