Insiders Guide to 7 Gen

1

Next Step #366: Finishing up the seventh year of podcasting the Next Step, some reflection on the goodness of Armodoxy and the bad ideas of religion. Tying it up, connecting the dots and getting ready for new things to come.
Hovhaness Badalyan – “Yerevani Djoor”
12 Worst Ideas of Religion
Our feed has moved! Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email to continue receiving notifications when new episodes are published.
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

Share.

About Author

Vazken Movsesian

1 Comment

  1. Hi Fr.Vazken and crew,

    Thank you so much for the last couple of podcasts. They have brought me back into the fold, as it were. Starting around Mother’s Day, one thing led to another, I got “busy” and suddenly I found myself feeling unmoored and sad. June last year I lost my father and aunt, thus I call it “death season”– like “duck season” versus “wabbit season”. So, I didn’t know how it would be and was dreading it.
    I suppose this was one reason for getting so “busy”, that it became really difficult to find time to listen to the podcasts. Suddenly, I couldn’t figure out how to do it and a negative inertia of doom had set in.
    Listening to the podcasts, one after the other, helped to reset things and provide an anchor against the unmooring of self imposed doom. And this, I think, is the point of religion– help center a person. Loss is an inevitable part of our life, which has a way of putting you in the proverbial spin cycle. Finding a way to see the sun, to dry out and to smile– that’s where religion comes in.
    The pitfall of all religion, and of people who run religious organizations, is to see how really different we all are. Really, really different. Throw in ethnicities which have struggled to keep their differences during centuries of oppression and forced assimilation (eg, Ottoman Empire) and pretty soon all people remember are the differences. Religion itself incorporates these differences and becomes part of the bubble surrounding each person and group.
    Once, I had a young patient tell me he thought Christ was Armenian. This was awesome on many levels and funny. Yet, I bet there are a lot of people who would ascribe their own ethnicity to Christ. Someone who was meant to unify, now acts to further separate.
    My grandfather was a Protestant pastor. I find it interesting, that it was never a denomination as we have in America. Just Protestant, as in Armenian Catholic. Ethnicity was still very much at play in the late 1880’s when his family broke with the Armenian Apostolic tradition.
    It all makes for fascinating conversations, chicken and egg, Möbius Strip type of thing. Where does one facet end and the other begin?
    For me personally, my grandfather’s legacy left a yearning for an authentic connection and a respect for faith. It really started with respect first, I have to say. I hadn’t earned enough loss to get the connection part. For years, I used to think that my father would’ve been offended had I chosen to be Protestant as well.
    Now I know that he wouldn’t have cared, because all he cared about was for me to have an anchor, a foundation. Something that would provide a touchstone during the vissitudes of time and life.
    That’s not easy though, there are many forces that pull one away. Doubts, laziness, fatigue, anxiety– all the good stuff. A commitment to a core value system and to living out its principles generally doesn’t leave too much time to focus on others. And, focusing on yourself is generally such great fun!
    It takes a long time to realize that you can be yourself fully and completely without negating others. As a Christan Armenian priest, Fr. Vazken created an art piece with a Buddhist artist. There’s no conflict because each party was committed to their selves fully.
    This, I suppose is the point. Yes, there are many ills that have been brought by religion. But how can we be sure those ills wouldn’t have happened anyway? The focus is always only the divisive factor and yet, somehow and eventually, wars end. People want to smile and wave at each other– wars are tiring. Resurrection and ascension do happen, but the focus always tends to be primarily on what happens before.

    asts. They have brought me back into the fold, as it were. Starting around Mother’s Day, one thing led to another, I got “busy” and suddenly I found myself feeling unmoored and sad. June last year I lost my father and aunt, thus I call it “death season”– like “duck season” versus “wabbit season”. So, I didn’t know how it would be and was dreading it and I suppose this was one reason for getting so “busy”.
    Suddenly, it became really difficult to find time to listen to the podcasts, to figure out how to do it– a negative inertia of doom had set in.
    Listening to the podcasts, one after the other, helped to reset things and provide an anchor against the unmooring waves of self imposed doom. And this, I think, is the point of religion. To help center a person, because there is enough stuff to throw one offcourse. Loss is an inevitable part of our life and life has a way of putting you in the proverbial spin cycle, but finding a way to hang out in sun, to dry out and to smile– that’s where religion comes in.
    The pitfall of all religion, and of people who run religious organizations, is to see how really different we all are. Really, really different. Throw in ethnicities which have struggled to keep their differences during centuries of oppression and forced assimilation (eg, Ottoman Empire) and pretty soon all people remember are the differences.
    I had a young patient tell me he thought Christ was Armenian. This was awesome on many levels and funny. Yet, I bet there are a lot of people who would ascribe their own ethnicity, and so what is meant to unify acts to further separate.
    My grandfather was a Protestant pastor. I find it interesting, that it was never clear what denomination as we have in America. Just Protestant, as in Armenian Catholic. Ethnicity was still very much at play in the late 1880’s when his family broke with the Armenian Apostolic tradition.
    It all makes for fascinating conversations, chicken and egg, Möbius Strip type of thing. Where does one facet end and the other begin?
    For me personally, my grandfather’s legacy left a yearning for an authentic connection and a respect for faith. It really started with respect first, I have to say. I hadn’t earned enough loss to get the connection part. for years I used to think that my father would’ve been offended had I chosen to be Protestant as well.
    Now I know that he wouldn’t have cared because all he cares about wS for me to have an anchor, a foundation. Something that would provide a touchstone during the vissitudes of time and life.
    That’s not easy though, there are many forces that pull you away. Doubts, laziness, fatigue, anxiety– all the good stuff. A commitment to a core value system and to living out its principles generally doesn’t leave too much time to focus on others.
    It takes a long time to realize that you can be yourself fully and completely without negating others. As a Christan, Armenian priest you created an art piece with a Buddhist. There’s no conflict because each party was committed to their selves fully.
    This, I suppose is the point. Yes, there are many ills that have been brought by religion. But how can we be sure those ills wouldn’t have happened anyway? The focus is always only the divisive factor and yet, somehow and eventually, wars end. Resurrection and ascension do happen, but the focus tends to be primarily on what happens before.

Reply To Anna Cancel Reply