I am not finished reading Blood Brothers yet, but I have read more since my last blog about it, so I have a few more things to comment on.
Elias and Faraj have been like brothers to each other for many years, and they expect to continue to follow the same path. But as they discuss their plans for the future, Elias has a realization. "Not all are called to the same task. Both Faraj and I were to be ordained -- but each to a special calling. He had come to feel very strongly about the wealth and extravagance of the Church amid poor and hungry people. It was for them that he hoped to help reform the Church itself. And I -- I would have to find my own calling on a lonelier path that would lead away from my closest friend....For me, a door seemed to stand wide open -- to what end I was not sure -- and unmistakably I was being beckoned through it" (pp. 128-129).
Realizing that he did not have to follow Faraj's path allowed Elias to look for his own path. Many people experience similar things. They think they have to have a prestigious job, or that they have to earn a certain amount of money, or that they have to meet their parents' expectations, or that a certain path would just be too hard. When they learn to look beyond these constraints, they finally are able to see their true path.
It seems I have not yet been able to see what constraints are blocking my thinking, and as a result, I have not been able to see my true path.
Chacour also writes, "God demanded that they demonstrate His own character to the whole world, and that they show forth the face of God in every action from the way they conducted their government down to the use of fair weights and measures in the marketplace" (p. 139). This is consistent with how I've always looked at things. Quakers say there is that of God in everyone. I believe that the way God wants us to serve him is by speaking to that of God within everyone we encounter. Churches, sermons, prayers, rituals -- all that stuff is not how God wants us to serve him. All that stuff is meant to get us into the right frame of mind so that we are able to speak to that of God in others. The trappings of religion are not an end in themselves. They are a means to an end. We have different religions because there are different things that inspire people to speak to that of God in everyone. Whether it's stained glass windows or candles or sitting by the ocean, I don't care what you do to get you there. All I care is that whatever form your religion or lack thereof takes, the end result is to treat others with love.
It's not that I believe that anything goes, that there is no right and wrong. It's that I believe that right or wrong is found in whether you treat others with compassion and integrity, not in your religious affiliation or lack thereof.