"And if the roots are sufficiently damaged or smothered by layers and layers of dirt, as in construction, the tree will eventually die, no matter how well-established or strong it has been." - Gayle Nolan, OneBirdWatching.blogspot.com
It seems to me that this is what happens to "the faith like that of a child" in generation after generation of humanity. We hand the big job of defining god over to "grown-ups" who pile rules and regulations that are actually human societal inventions onto the innocent trust that nurtured children have. We pretend to have answers for those things that we can't understand in order to impress our children with our wisdom and power. Enough generations of piling one fear-based story on top of another eventually crushes the pure faith of children under it's weigh, smothering The Holy Spirit in their souls.
Perhaps we'd do better as a people if we asked children to define god for us, instead of the other way around. Maybe we'd get closer to the truth, and maybe the uncountable numbers of underground capillary roots put out by the world's children would bring new nourishment into the Eternal Vine of Divinity.
Perhaps it is time that we allow the old leaves and fruit to fall to the ground and nourish the new life with its wisdom and history. Perhaps we should encourage inter-religious marriages to ensure "hybrid vigor" in our quest for the experience of The Holy Spirit for all nations and all generations.
I was taught, as a child, that even my closest relations could not go to heaven if they weren't practicing Roman Catholics. Others believe that the name of Jesus has to be on the lips of anyone wishing to see God. Religions throughout history seem to all have had some version of damnation if you were different. The rules were tightened ever more securely to scare children out of drifting away from their own tribes and the ways that were comfortable for their elders. Some now say that our religions were wrong in this, but how many small souls were destroyed in the interim?
If we really want to see The Sacred Spirit, perhaps we should look into the faces of the small, innocent children. And perhaps we should stop behaving as if our own deaths will be the end of the nourishment we can offer to the roots of our faith. I would like my life to count for something, even if my death is the best way to give life back to the children of the next generation. We must trust that the new roots growing in the soil of our old faiths will grow toward Eternal Light without our continued pruning and prodding.
The new fruit may be a hybrid that is unimaginably sweet and satisfying. This is my hope and prayer for the future.