Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Advent 11: On the Question: Why Church?

Glasgow Cathedral

I came across this a few days ago, and it presents part of the answer:

"The postmodern mind is haunted. A great religious tradition is the home of wisdom. It is the public locus in a culture where the great eternal, spiritual questions are kept alive and kindled. Kept clear of unworthy answers, they invite each epoch to journey toward the inner and outer frontiers of its possibility and potential. This is the enthralling task of theology: to probe those frontiers anew in each generation. Never was there such possibility for ground-breaking conversation and exploration. But it is not happening. The hunger is intense. The keepers of the treasure are frightened, discouraged and blind to the nourishment of which they are custodians. The hungry ones now think less and less of revisiting religion as the granary of divine nourishment. The keepers of the food and the victims of the hunger pass each other by with little recognition of the enriching possibilities they have to offer each other."

John O'Donohue
Spirituality as the Art of Real Presence


Anonymous said...

This is from an avid learner who is on her own spiritual quest. Your blog is exceptional and I continually learn from your posts.
You are definitely not boring and hopefully the abscence of comments will not dampen your spirit and I will continue to enjoy my daily visits.
Thank you.

LightYears2Venus said...

I'm not on beta nor have a blogger account, but will try. I very much like the idea of the church as a hotbed of eternal questions, probing spiritual frontiers, rather than mired in tradition and a fixed theology. Our rather small liturgical church is struggling in some ways, but definitely exploring and reaching out with a new Saturday evening service featuring thoughts provoked by the lyrics of U2. Do YOU really feel the modern church is blind and ignoring the spiritually hungry? Sometimes I think this is a problem with the mainstream churches and why those mega community churches are drawing hundreds, but in general I feel religion in the 21st century is very much alive and well.

Gannet Girl said...

As a generalization, I think the church is vital and alive, and I don't think it's blind or ignoring the spiritually hungry -- but I do think the terrain of the church is diffcult for many people to navigate and that the church has a hard time figuring out what to do about that. On one end of the spectrum you have churches that insist upon an orthodoxy that feeds some but represents emptiness to others, and on the other end you have the pablum of many of the megachurches. In neither of those extremes is there much in the way of communication of the heart of the matter: God's passionate love for all of creation.

Cynthia said...

This passage describes some of the difficulties I've had with church over the years. I, the hungry, and the keepers of the food kept missing each other. I still find it rather sad that I had to separate from church to find spirituality and true religion. Without that separation, I could not have truly joined, so it was important and good. I wonder though how many people just aren't making the connection like I wasn't, and what we as such a diverse body can do to change that and reconnect the eternal to the present.

Kathleen said...

Great, provacative post with thoughtful comments, thanks