tag : bright yellow-green apples: secular saints

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

secular saints


figure 4.5. Immanuel Kant

I have a really interesting and very challenging anonymous reader it seems, quite a privilege, lets see if I can do you justice. This deserves a bit to its own space:

“So, an obvious observation becomes novelty because it lacks substance? Pretty easy cop. Back to the altar is back to ignorance of Human nature and the authorized condemnation of the natural. Thank WHO for the Saints? Um, the Catholic church springs to mind, hardly god...If I smell something sweet in this world, chances are its not a rotting saint, more likely the caramel in Coke. Bit of critical thinking is hardly a bad thing in this type of discourse but it always seems absent from people who have given over that faculty to Daddy in the sky ( without diamonds).”

“Almost forgot Camille, purity of thought? Seems at odds with any religious, not SPIRITUAL, but religious beliefs. That purity must be self generated, I smell the unclean aroma of ripe dogma here. The antithesis of any independent thought. The progress of evolution is difficult to measure, but the stick used is not a chalice, we don't measure our progress as people by the volume of the tears of christ it contains, metaphor for loss and longing or not. A lame shot at an easy target as an example of the outrages of capitalism, hardly legitimizes the incoherent ramblings of the defenders of the source of society's misery. Any society, pick one.”

I never claim substance, as you might eventually find by the outworking of my woolly mind. But anyway, to the matter in hand. You see to me, the altar represents the subversion of all that you seem to be rightly concerned to avoid. It is where people have encounter, where they find acceptance, where they find themselves, in the face of the power games, the control, the oppressive wilful dangerous unthinking stifling dehumanisation, which can be found both in the Church and wider society. Direct breaking through of the walls that people create for themselves and each other, the self-sustaining systems which bring us to less than life in its fullness.

Bringing critical thinking to encounter with the ground of being and to interaction with others is invaluable, though not only the rational you see. Many of the prophets we find in the biblical stories, many of the saints still in the memory of parts of the Church, used imagination – drama, story, action, picture language – to profoundly challenge the societal status quo. I bet you even Richard Dawkins reads a bit of poetry every now and then. Just because someone might find the numinous touching their lives, it doesn’t have to mean the giving over of their minds to slavery. You cannot really castigate people for unrational (note: this is not the same as irrational) imaginative explorations; given that they present a necessary and very human balance to the equally (not more) important late second millennium AD. enlightenment values. That is part of the challenge of the current shift in society - our modern enlightenment inheritence of rational philosophy is being subverted by a rediscovery of what was lost, meaning in story & myth, imagination & image, This is part of the post modern shift, the delightful challenge to us all of faith or none.

Provision for activity, a morality romance


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's fascinating stuff...
i've long been a bit of a... well not so much fan, but appreciator; of Immanuel Kant. he is one of those whom we study, at least parts of his work, in some detail in A-level Religious studies, both in Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. i find his bluntness, while often not so well informed by post-modern standards (knowledge has developed somewhat, even from his day) certainly very interesting and often rather amusing also.

your thoughts on the Altar are interesting to me, as a Charasmatic of sorts; one of the first things one learns in such a setting is to de-mystify the altar (and Sanctuary) and re-mystify everywhere else: that is, what was traditionally the altar experience can really be felt anywhere in the church, anywhere in the world.

lesson two in my particular church is that the altar in our post-new-testament world is the Cross, the place of sacrifice, the final sacrifice. the traditional table infact being representation of the Last-Supper, and thus not a sacraficial Altar but a Communion Table... that is not to reduce the significance of the Eucharist, merely to set the two things back in their respective places, and perhaps to removes some of the superstition surrounding the sanctuary, and re-integrate the sense of mystery at the Devine Other to the wider congregation in the Nave...

some thoughts is all ;o)


3:47 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Lesson one is indeed a good one. But yet again you have uncovered my sacramental instincts – the one can give an appreciation of, and communicate, the many. Put another way, God is indeed to be found all around us, but certain things, events, ect. will draw your attention to that. God is everywhere, but we encounter Emmanuel in Jesus Christ, after all. The specific mystery draws our attention to the general mystery.

Lesson two is also a good balance. To which I would respond that, at the alter we find the table of Christ where the passion is told, retold, and enacted. We enter into the whole gospel story together at the table, where we encounter God in the radical event of Jesus Christ, and thus in entering the story we take it into the God-infused world.

9:53 AM  
Blogger camille said...

oh my...i'm a wee bit offended at the reference to 'unclean aroma of ripe dogma'....
tsk tsk
isn't the very first rule of philosophical study to read the words written and not your assumptions about said words
alas, i don't have much time at the moment, but will be delighted to comment later this evening on your thoughtful meanderings...lots of juice there, i think...

9:33 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

It just goes to show what different perspectives abound when I find what you say very stimulting and the anonymous person I quoted seemed to dismiss you with a mere wave of the hand. I'm looking forwards to your reaction to both he and me.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much sound and fury...but your last line, of that I am quite sure. It is the most sincere of your diatribe. Who you like better baby? Gee, I'll bet you can ride with no hands next! Oh and it's THIS Anon., not the other, prefer my confrontations on a personal, non cyber-geek level, ciao.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't go without something snide: I am off to read a bit of poetry, because it will profoundly challenge the societal status qou. JC, if he was really ONE person, WAS a social revolutionary. In his time, in his society. Now, today, the only interp. I see by you and others, is metaphysical. You are no different, at all,to the layman, than the most staunch catholic supporter. The traditions, the liturgy and yes, sorry C. the dogma. You still are dealing in the currency of the church, pick and choose all you like, your buffet is still Grimm.

11:38 AM  

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