Working my way backwards…(the following are responses to comments from Kenny and Huck)
Jesus did just fine with twelve disciples and however far his voice could carry. What is called for is not more churches but more Christians; not congregants who sit in pews but people who have accepted love into their hearts. We need Saints and Bodhisattvas to awaken, we need disciples of Gospel and Dharma to arise, we need our own practice and discipline to be patient and consistent; but this has always been called for and it is still difficult to listen. It is the state of being human.
Nobody ever needs to apologize in the Teahouse for being precise with words. There is a difference between alizarin crimson and rose madder which is why we have different names for them. Reducing your vocabulary is like giving your writing a lobotomy.
That people can be taught to think for themselves is one of the pillars of my philosophy; the ideas that form the core of Buddhism and the Ministry of Christ require a person to think independently in order to actually grasp them, which is why so many churches and institutions do their level best to stifle independent thinking and doubt. Doubt is the key to faith, and the more well-developed a person’s capacity to doubt becomes the more formidable the strength of their faith will be. Teaching a person to doubt unlocks their mind.
Even as I understand the forces that produced the many flaws in their ideologies I can appreciate what Luther and Calvin achieved by defying the Catholic Church. You know how I feel about Bonhoeffer. I think all the theology we really need can be found in the Gospels and the Dharma, but I take your point and I agree that there are plenty of fine examples of unblinking compassion in the world. The problem is that religious institutions cannot transmit compassion, love, or wisdom into the world. Only people can do that.
I hope by this point I have made myself clear that the target of my ire is not the Gospels but those who abuse them for their own ends, but you have certainly earned a full reply. I am not a fan of the churches which tell people who to be afraid of and angry at, or who to vote for or buy from, or where to vacation and where to retire. The problem in America is that there is a hunger for spirituality but small appetite for truth; we prefer our prejudices be confirmed rather than challenged.