…learn the difference between ecstasy and epiphany. We spend much effort trying to reduplicate ecstatic experiences, so to institutionalize the feeling. This we call religion. Yet, feelings ought not be institionalized or even over organized. The organized ecstatic experience is not organized, because it cannot actually be reduplicated, only re-formed in ritual. While ritual has great value, it is not reality. Ritual is not reality quite because it is institutionalized memory, not experience.
For Christianity, we dig back through American Folk Religion to Roman Christianity and from there back to the Jewish Jesus, finally forcing Him to be, again, an itinerant Jewish rabbi, about five and a half feet tall and dead in His thirties, when actually He is become Lord of All. American Folk Religion is pablum, synthetic milk, but the worst part of its emptiness is how it drives us to seek reality in ancient ritual.
An epiphany cannot be reduplicated, either, but the lesson of the epiphny can be organized for reflection. Or, let me say it this way, if I might. That is, organized religion is the futile attempt man makes to force God into inertia. We hope to make God inert, not motionless, but lacking in catalyzing force.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.