by Chad E Cooper

Religion, spirituality and faith. This is not a philosophical or religious discussion about which religion is superior to the others. This is about understanding that I’m going to put in context; perhaps all religions are talking about a single entity. Let’s use a symbol of a diamond. Depending on which facet or angle you’re looking at, you might use different terminology to describe it. But we’re all really talking about the same diamond.

The scriptures all have commonality when we talk about that single entity. We’ll just call that the diamond here, or “Source”. What I want to share really; is when people are turned off by scripture or by religion, I acknowledge this position and invite you to take a step back and look at the writings, look at the scripture as a Map. Scripture in all religions is the path that we walk through in the wilderness of life; but it’s also the river that we use to nourish, quench our thirst, and keep ourselves “hydrated” when we’re in the midst of a crises or “desert” phase of our life.

There is much talk today about differences and what separates us, creating tension, isolation, division, etc. I have dear friends, honest and good valuable relationships with people I have known a very long time, which have some very differing beliefs about things. Differences in opinion such as politics, religion, and sports (the three things not to be discussed in barber shops or family gatherings… but always seems to happen). However, what if we look for what unites us within all religious scriptures? Looking for what we share in our values, character, and faith can lead you to a very different conclusion. One facet of a diamond that transcends all religions is LOVE. I learned that when I look for what we share in scripture, regardless of which religion, we have far more that unites us than the small pieces that divide. If we simply choose to behave in the manner which our faith directs us, we might find we are happier, and more peaceful, which connects us.

But understand, that while scripture is put out there as a Map, it’s still our responsibility; our choice, and our mission to freely commit to spending time in Scripture, so that we are able to interpret the legends on the map. We can actually understand what the map is trying to guide us and say. For example, if you want to go from point A to point B, here’s the path to do that. But that requires us to be able to spend time and educate ourselves with the symbols. If we look at the symbols on a map, when you live in the USA as an example, you’re going to use miles; however, if you go into a European standard, you can look at that same map, and it’s going to be interpreted in kilometers. They’re both saying the same thing, just using different symbols or different language to measure how to get from point A to point B. I invite you to look at different religious scriptures, getting underneath it and seeing that there is really a ton of commonality reinforcing the same messages. It’s still our responsibility to understand how to translate and interpret the map.

Discipline is learning the map. Discernment is understanding which path to take. Faith in honoring God is following the path to His destination.

Five easy steps that allow you to interpret and successfully navigate scriptures:

1. Step One: Assess what is it that you’re trying to do? Where do you want to go? Where are you at right now, where you desire to be in your life/map?

2. Step Two: Probe, dig deeper; to understand how to read the map. Like a marriage, you must spend time in it for it to develop a quality relationship.

3. Step Three: Write your plan to get through the path successfully. Understanding what are the qualities? What are the characteristics? What are the obstacles that can be there?

4. Step Four: Prayer. We see that in all religions, the need for prayer. We must stop and meditate through scripture in order to prepare the mind and the soul for the journey.

5. Step Five: Review the plan and make sure that your strategy is sound. This is done by understanding scripture (i.e. the map) and using it as the auditing tool. When your plan is backed in scriptural integrity (discernment), your tactical execution is sound.

When we look at all scriptures from those five components, audit our behavior, probe, and pray as part of your planning, you’ll be able to use scripture the way that I believe it was intended. We are able to use it and thereby remove the fault and fragility of the human condition; how we interpret it. When we slow down to master the map of scripture, we find what connects us, not isolates human differences and be able to navigate successfully to our treasures.

I hope this serves you. I’d love to hear your input your thoughts on it and share your feedback. Tell me what more you want to hear in discuss that I can share with you. Thank you