I have been a member of the Grove Rotary Club for nearly three years.
At the close of every Club Meeting, we recite together the 4-Way Test: “Of the things we Think, Say, and Do; (1) Is it the Truth? (2) Is it Fair to all concerned? (3) Will it build Good Will and Better Friendships? (4) Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?”
What impresses me most is that we are agreeing to be mindful of what we “Think, Say, and Do.”
Rotary is not a religious organization, but the 4-Way Test is a very high ethical standard. One does not need to be religious to practice such standards.
The Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament) describes people such as Noah and Abraham as “God-fearers”; individuals with a high ethical character, before there was any written law to tell people to be ethical.
When Jesus of Nazareth was walking the earth, He taught people to live ethical lives amid a crooked society, governed by the wicked Roman Empire. His teachings centered on love, kindness, mutual affection and support, inclusion, diversity, and bringing light into darkness.
That is what ethical living is about. How do we support and encourage others in our communities? How do we practice the art of community giving? This is what community service looks like, and this is what Grove Rotary Club looks like.
I would allege to you that if more people would live by the 4-Test we would see a seemingly miraculous improvement in our world. Try applying those four questions to how you practice your religion and live your life and see what happens.
The fact is that individuals that do not associate with a church, but practice these ethical standards, are living into what God created us to be.
We can get so wrapped-up in our religiosity that we don’t realize we are not practicing real christian values; love, kindness, goodness, faith, hope, inclusion, diversity.
Religious people can be the most toxic people we know. I had a church secretary 20 years ago that observed: “Christians are the only army that shoots its own wounded!” I have seen the truth in that. Our religiosity can get the best of us.
Faith is not religion. Faith is knowing there is a Supreme Being and that Being loves us all. Healthy faith is not afraid to ask questions or work to break-through barriers that stand in the way of research and knowledge.
Christians are using a collection of small books, letters, and Gospels, commonly known as The Bible, written in Hebrew and Greek, in a time when the world was a much different place, and so were humans.
Shouldn’t we ask questions? Shouldn’t we try to determine what these ancient words really mean for us today? We think so.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at email@example.com. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.