It seems we are never starting from square one. We are always dealing with structures and strictures that once served better than they do now, and how to make a shift without tearing the proverbial fabric of shared beliefs, that’s what we wrestle with.

The most difficult a knot to undo has to be the one some religious leaders find themselves in from that way-back notion that there is only one correct religious story (theirs, of course), immutable and infallible for all time. To entertain a need for change, a reinterpretation, strikes them as inviting things to fall apart utterly.

But reality can eventually gob-smack leaders and followers alike. Churches are finding a narrative for acting against global warming and other realities. Some churches, that is. Others would be wise to try to see themselves in a cultural struggle in a far-away place, for what it can teach.

Some ancient Hindu texts advised people to relieve themselves far from home, according to an article in Tuesday’s NYT, “Indian Children Well-Fed but Malnourished, for Want to Toilets.” Spending $26 billion on food and jobs programs and less than $400 million on sanitation, India is finding out that they can’t get there from here. Open defecating away from home just fouls someone else’s home and they foul yours, and India’s children are stunted mentally and physically from being sick so often from fecal contamination in their water–half of India’s population drinks from contaminated water–no matter how much good food they get.

So far, even when toilets are provided, they are not always used. It will take some time for doctrines and practices to change. But change they must. And they will. 

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