As I observe the religious landscape in the West, dominated as it is by Christian Orthodoxy, I can't help but conclude that we have been slumbering spiritually under the auspices of institutional Christianity, lo these many centuries. So much that the church teaches and practices seems so at odds with Jesus, that I wonder if they have ever really listened to Him.
At the same time, I claim to believe that all things work out in accordance with God's ultimate plan. He is able to use all life circumstances as stepping stones in our religious development. That logically would include our experiences with and within the church. Many of us have been molded by the church but now feel a great freedom being outside that group. It is almost inevitable, I guess, to feel alienated from the church and its adherents, after having broken away and enjoying the resultant liberty.
In that state of mind, I find myself being super critical of the very beliefs I held so dear for so long myself. I become like he former smoker, the worst and most vociferous opponent of my former habit. I readily recognize that I am in grave danger of being the pious judge of others that I claim to abhor, whenever I share a personal conclusion about the beliefs, practices, and implications of another's religious choices. I attempt, perhaps vainly and self-servingly, to deflect that implication by saying that I share my thoughts to encourage others who may otherwise feel overwhelmed by the weight of church doctrine and who could benefit from the realization that others share similar questions and frustrations with institutional Christianity. As far as I can see, it is impossible to encourage the non-traditionalist in his or her search for a spiritual truth without challenging and offending the traditionalist. Most assuredly, in my experience, the traditional church provides no forum for open minded dialogue about church doctrine and its implications. Their very doctrine makes questioning forbidden.
So I find myself betwixt and between. I offer observations and opinions which I hope will be helpful to some but at the same time offensive to others. No one is obliged to pay the least attention to my thoughts. Their God relationship is not dependent on conformity to me; thankfully so.
Basically I just claim my first amendment right to express myself. If my opinions differ from yours and you find that difference offensive, I cannot in good conscience remain silent just to make you comfortable. At least, I won't be banging on your door, trying to convince you that what I believe is essential to you.
All I could suggest is this- I'll try my way and you try yours. I suspect neither of us will behave with perfect consistency. Both of us are probably on the path intended for us, individually. Some are adamant in the declaration that only one path can be the right one. The world is too diverse for that assertion to seem plausible to me..