Attune Your Faith

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Religion may teach but that is not enough. RELIGION must TUNE. Just as a piano is tuned to give the right sound when used, so religion is to tune people in spirit and minds to live the right lives by which we recognize God’s love and presence in people. Religion may teach flat facts of creed, theology and Sacred Writings, and to know them is a step above ignorance, but to practice the facts, bring faith to an attunement in life, that is a religious accomplishment. That is religion tuned by God’s Being.

Most people who espouse religion don’t understand religion. They practice rituals or abide by rules, but the Spirit, that is the right attunement, is rarely with them. At times members of faiths are attuned only at certain times, like Sunday morning worship, but give up any attempt at real spiritual attunement in life the minute they leave a church building and go back into life. This is the pity of religion that so many are not attuned to it correctly. It is rather like hearing an impressively large choir singing the hymns off key and out of tune. Flat, literal, sour, meanly self-righteous, legalistic, and odd are the sounds of out of tune religion. It is like music sung flat or off-key, only lived off-key.

I think the reason many people resent religion is they so seldom meet any people with true religion and on the key of God or one of the keys of God who, of course, has more than one note and one key. God has different notes and keys but strangely enough, though they may be different, when you have heard one, nearly everyone agrees they have heard one. I know the key of grace when I hear it. I recognize if not a call of grace, the confirmation of it. I see what is said as compassionate, just, true, emotionally satisfying and fairly qualified. It is like a soloist in the midst of atonal chaos, suddenly singing out clearly and beautifully a statement I know to be true. I may not know the singer. I may not prefer the odd and atonal choir out of which it comes. I may not know of the faith from which it comes, but I recognize grace, common grace or special grace, whatever, and I think, “This is grace. How wonderful to have a truth of God that we do not merit (or knowing have forgotten) suddenly arrive and descend here, of all places and at this time! Grace is everywhere. And where there is grace, there is God.”

An interior life of regular worship, prayer, thought, study and meditation helps to tune us to God. Most know of God, many believe in Him, but few are truly with Him spiritually and steadily. Alas we are all sinners and only a few can maintain a higher level of godly thought steadily. And the few who can and do may need rest from that high a level so much of the day. A stoic philosopher advised, “live as on a mountain,” which if constantly done is too distant for the regular camaraderie with society that most people need. But to live as on a mountain a little while each day is a good thing. It keeps us from being common, cheap, ungracious and vulgar in our thinking. Or at least it should.

We need regular times for transcendence. These spiritual times help tune us to God and the higher perspective that we need in our thinking and judging each day. Without these times I suggest we consider if we will not turn too materialistic in our thinking and start living on the non-spiritual level of goats or those humans similar to goats who have become simplistic over materialism. It seems to me daily living with low companions has burned the sense of soul out of them. Their thinking has become non-spiritual, only material, only sexual, only brutal thinking and very low. Their lives seem to me to be as the lives of goats: a series of head butts over materialistic things. I find such lives lack the subtlety of the spiritually concerned.

It would seem to me that a superior person, that is a more spiritually complex person, would want to live on a higher level or higher frequency of existence than mere materialism calls for. As people of God, we are called to be aware of higher spiritual levels of thought and life. We cannot fall to being simplistic materialistic barbarians such as Western Civilization has often produced en-masse by non-spiritual use of an insensate applied technology. Therefore I advise you to seek to be Christians more spiritually attuned to Christ than some of those Christians without sensitivity who have gone before us. Let your prayers not be mechanical and dead, never let them be ritualistic and repetitive cliché, but attune yourselves closer to God in your hearts that our faith today may be living and admirable.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.