As a child, “hidey-seek” was one of our favorite games. We would designate a “seeker” who would close his eyes while the rest of us scurried about finding a hiding place to see who would be the last one found. I’ve spent my life playing the very same game with God and have been very successful so far as I found the best place to hide–religion! Clothing one’s self with the spiritual piety, humility, theology, wisdom, and practice is the very best place to hide from God because it gives one’s ego the assurance of, “piety, humility, theology, wisdom, and spiritual practice.” This is what Jesus was telling the Pharisees when he called them, “whited sepulchres, full of dead men’s bones.” I can just imagine their fury at him! Here they were going about their daily routine of life, including being “holy,” and Jesus bumbled into their life and told them, “Hey, guess again! Your all a bunch of hypocrites!”
Now for those of us steeped in religion, especially those of us bred in conservative American religion, toying with the notion of being hypocrites is disconcerting! How could we be hypocrites? “Well, hell, just look at us! Look how “christian” I am and you dare to call me an hypocrite.” Jesus would have pissed us off too. But in modern times, if Jesus ever happens to venture into our lives, He’s gonna “piss us off” and embarrass the ‘hell’ out of us.” Oh, of course our “ideas” of Him will never do this as these “ideas” of Him are what have allowed us to escape Him, paralleling our ability to escape the vulnerability and humility of being human. But if we ever allow these “ideas” of Him to begin to crumble, we will soon discover ourselves in a, “world of pain,” the pain of finally addressing reality. Of course, keep in mind that Jesus does not do any, “venturing,” as he does not travel, not being confined to time and space. He is always here, always was, and always will be and can be found just beyond that, “small bright circle of our consciousness” that our ego has “gifted” us with to avoid Him.
Modern life is giving persons of faith in my country, including Christians…and actually including atheists…a chance to entertain Jesus and have a little tete-a-tete with Him. Spirituality has allowed the antithesis of Jesus to bubble to the surface of our collective consciousness and throngs of devout Christians have now pledged their troth to this version of an “anti” christ. This gives all believers, those of all stripes, an opportunity to see just how easy religion is to hide from God and therefore facilitate great evil in their lives and the lives of their fellow man, even as they daily offer pious platitudes and prayers in His name. This duplicity does not make us “bad” people; it merely shows us that we are “people,” simple humankind with a penchant for getting things wrong and being unwilling to acknowledge it. I think Jesus would say, and does, “Hey, its okay! I got you covered!” But it is so much easier to just plod along in the comfort of our darkness. As Shakespeare summed it up, “With devotion’s visage and pious action, they do sugar o’er the devil himself.”