tag : bright yellow-green apples: following the prophet

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

Friday, September 24, 2004

following the prophet

Example

figure 1.2. better keep moving

Things have taken an interesting turn over on Ruth Ann’s site, discussing faith journeys and coming to find meaning in flux. I decided to take my last reply and broaden it slightly.

When he returned to Mecca upon the town welcoming him back from exile in Medina, the prophet Muhammad approached the Ka’ba. This site had been a centre of pilgrimage for Arabians for as long as anyone could remember, was tied up with their identity in relation to the divine and their meta-history as a family of people - Abraham was said to have built it along with Ishmael. Subsequently, as part of his forging identity for his new faith community (the Ummna), he instituted that people of Islam face the stone when praying, and that they visit it on pilgrimage some time in their life if at all possible. Thus there was an integration of unified community identity, in a fixed structure, in terms of journey. Both the symbolic 'sacramental' one they made to the site, and the life journey they made in reference to it as a physical conduit-locus for facing Al-lah. This was highly important and pivotal for a people who were in a socio-economic transition from nomadic tribes to tribal settlement in physical towns and markets of commerce, with it's associated traumas and potentials for lack of social justice and abuse.

Ruth Ann asks is there’s any chance that we could find identity, as faith community, outside the Church solid structure as people on the move. I’d say as networks we can. But I reckon there's lessons in this for us to be shown by what happened in Arabia those centuries ago – particularly as we seem to be in similarly profound flux and shift, as a society, to that which was going on in Arabia at the time. There is mileage (no pun intended) in trying to find tactile faith of the physical and concrete, in conjunction with the fluid and organic. Neither becoming too ethereal nor imprisoned would be healthy for us as Christians in the 21st century. In the context of life's sacred journey, a fixed sacramental stone of some sort, which enables and inspires ongoing, exodus might be of benefit.

8 Comments:

Blogger Brasil66 said...

Look to the trees...

6:08 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Well indeed, in many ways trees offer a better touchstone (or touch wood) in the terms I’ve tried to think earlier. They’re organic, growing and developing over time - and not just metaphorically in terms of sacramental/attached human meaning developments in the way that mineral is to our timescale.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Brasil66 said...

Yea, and they got squirrels living in them...

3:23 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Always a boon. Though just as long as they aren't the naughty new world grey variety - one of the many unfortunate invading species your continant has 'blessed' us with...

12:09 AM  
Blogger Brasil66 said...

I am not responsible. I am against grey in all its forms.

12:49 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I'm not against grey, it is a fine and noble colour, with great ranging beauty and potential suptlety. It's just in the case of these squirrels, they are a menace and as a non native they wreak ecological havock in our biodiversity...

3:33 PM  
Blogger Brasil66 said...

Hmmm...they are the Southern Baptists of the diverse theological community, are they?

12:59 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Without wishing to be undiplomatic, that's quite good comparison. There's a certain unfortunate colonialist parallel...

12:31 PM  

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