I've been spending the past few days visiting with family on Ohio's north coast (yes, Ohio has coastline- it's Lake Erie). My mother in law rents a cottage every year at a Chattaqua community in Ohio for her church's annual conference, and invites the family to come along. It's kind of nice- I cook and clean and try to get something done, and we get a little family vacation thing.
For those of you that don't know them, Chattaqua villages were planned as religious communities in the 19th century. A place to learn about religion, study, pray, and have community. Obviously, I'm not there for the religious aspect but there are always some interesting conversations to be had. Dwight and I aren't opposed to religion, we just haven't found one that fits our family yet. It's a little insight for us into current issues in the Christian church, or at least this denomination.
One thing really struck me this year, about the conference and about the attendees. That was the level of inactivity. Resolutions were passed on important subjects like conservation, human trafficking, and fair trade. Resolutions not to do anything, but to become more informed, or think about, or try. All of these were non-binding resolutions.
One conversation in particular struck me. Apparently a teen asked of the fair trade resolution whether that meant he had to buy more expensive stuff if the cheaper stuff was made with child labor, or if he could still buy cheap. To me, as an outsider, that seems like it would be the perfect time to point out that happiness is wanting what you have not having what you want, or that another person's right to earn a fair wage outweighed your right to lots of cheap stuff, or that simply child labor was wrong. Apparently, as an outsider, I would be wrong on all of these counts, and instead the right thing to do is to point out that the resolution was non-binding and simply asked for information.
To say I was disappointed would be a vast understatement. What happened to being active in advancing morals and ethics? What happened to encouraging people to strive for improving the community and helping those less fortunate? What happened to walking the walk instead of just talking the talk? What happened to bettering ones self? This is the stuff I have a problem with- when religion is there to help people feel good about themselves for no good reason. When religion is about personal wellness more than doing what's right for the broader community, it's time to rethink a few things.