tag : bright yellow-green apples: in hope of the communal

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

Friday, September 10, 2004

in hope of the communal

Example

Figure 1.2. new connections

Here’s part of a reply I wrote to Ruth Ann in a little exchange we had on our feelings about the Church here and now, as people feeling in the margins or even outside conventional Church as congregations show it, often finding Church more in close networks of people:

If relationships of agape love in the light of the divine are to mean anything, then friendship networks are, as far as I'm concerned, no better than individual private faith. Yes I have my shrine and yes I find my faith through the networks of friends to a great degree, but if divine community life is restricted to them, then God help us as we are only dealing in particulars. Default 'benign' sectarianism, that doesn't seek to do harm yet is limited in good. That's why I see Church in some wider sense as still part of the ongoing passion narrative, I reckon God can use it to demonstrate and live out relationships of love which transcend all boundaries, including those which come out of who we like or share interests with, or happen to mix with happily. And that is always needed, especially in a time of atomisation and individualism, where people desire some form of meaningful full community. Which is not to say some serious reworking is not needed, just that Church is broader in scope than is comfortable for any of us, as with wider society.

7 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

It's always going to be a puzzle isn't it? Whether faith is essentially a personal thing or whether it needs to be integrated into something bigger. I think in my pre-Christian days I would've opted for the former, as I shared your Anonymous reader's suspicion of institutional religion. However, while I still think faith is an intensely personal matter, we must find ourselves as part of some sort of whole. That doesn't have to be a church, but it helps to be in 'fellowship' with someone at least. Even if that is just chatting about the meaning of life with random friends late at night, it still reminds us that we aren't alone in this big boat called existence.

I think Jesus shows us a good model for how to approach this issue. While he had much to criticise in the religious institutions of his day, he still went to the temple and the synagogue. But his fellowship didn't stop there, his church was everywhere, with people of all backgrounds. But even with the crowds following him, he still found the time to be away from everyone, to sit and be with his Father.

Andy

9:54 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I do think that collective faith, relational expressions, can take many forms, you're right there in demonstration. My basic position, as initially sketched out here, is that there is nowhere the restorative work of the divine cannot be in action, and hence I think that the Church’s* place in the archetypal passion narrative might well see it’s vitality unlocked again.

*I mean Church in the sense of, for example, the Methodist Church denomination I'm still yet a member of, and the little chapel congregation I'm still a part of. I find Church with you and Ruth Ann, for example, but that's for another analysis of its own

11:30 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

That link is a pile inaccuracy - here is the right one, in fact, with a debate of sorts going on: when liberals collide.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Ah. Now *that* makes a good deal more sense! Thanks.

Andy

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mind exists in desiring; hence mind can never leave you without desire.
If you are without desire, mind dies immediately.
That's the whole secret of meditation.

5:55 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I might suggest mind isn't so descript as you indicated by that, as far as I can see our holistic selves are about psychology and physiology tightly influencing and feedbacking into each other. Maybe it's more a matter of semantics and what picture language we choose to talk about the journey...

...but, to tie this in with the main thrust of the original post (might as well, while I'm here), even the Buddha developed his systems around good society, we must be careful not to forget the fellow travellors by turning freedom into a purely introspective thing.

Mind exists in desiring; hence mind can never leave you without desire.
If you are without desire, mind dies immediately.
That's the whole secret of meditation.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Brasil66 said...

I think the secret of meditation, not contemplation, is that it removes the diety, any deity , from the spiritual journey. The value of communing with other sinners in a community of sin is? All inward looking philosophies place too much reliance on self for religions to be comfortable with. Just another path...

5:39 AM  

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