Friday, July 27, 2007

Writer's block or something else

I have been absent from the blogging world for almost two weeks. The first week I was roaming around the capital of Italy (pun intended) and this week, I simply have not felt like writing nor doing anything else for that matter.

Tons of thoughts, some personal, some theological, some silly. But for some reason I've just not felt like sharing any of them. Lady R gets to hear them as we bounce things off each other, but I have not wanted to login and write. I think it is either called laziness or being undisciplined or both with a little bit of apathy thrown in for good measure.

I wouldn't call what's going discouragement. I can't quite put my finger on the source of the unsettledness. I think it is similar to what artists may call being "uninspired." But that can't be exactly it either since I've just returned from my trip. Maybe it is France, but I doubt that too. I do know "work" is going very slowly. Day in and day out, there are those feelings of unfulfillment. I ask myself sometimes, "Am I making any progress in what I am suppose to be doing, is learning two languages somehow a spiritual discipline like prayer?"

A verse that keeps coming to me is James 4:8 : Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. So, I think I will try to do just that. Draw near to God and clean up my act.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Spirituality outside the Church

"This ["positive"secularism] means nothing of the sort that the Churches have to dominate society, to impose on it their rules, to attach to it a moral code and even a calender. First, because the religious fact can be independent of Churches. One can "believe" without belonging to any "organization." p16. (emphasis his)

So, if I have translated this correctly and if I understand Mr. Sarkozy's words, he is saying there exists a "spirituality" (emphasis mine) outside the institution of the Church.

While this concept is not new, we've seen it in America during the 19th century Romantic literary movement, I am surprised to hear it every time it is said. And I partly believe it. Sarkozy used the plural, Churches, when he spoke about spirituality. This is to say there is spirituality not only outside the Roman Church, but also outside any institutional church, which would have to included every flavor of Protestantism in France.

So what does this mean in regards to our own spiritual life outside the Church (to whichever one we may prescribe ourselves)? I think it means that no institution has the right to impose itself on society as a whole. And I would agree to a point. Having the Church as a political force is a super bad idea. But I also want the Church(es) to be able to practice its religion as it sees fit. However, if anyone wishes to practice religion differently, they should be given the freedom.

Besides, I think many would agree that we have our own spiritual life outside the congregation that we visit on Sundays. But what happens on Sunday is that we come together with similarly liked minded folks. Granted, some people get "spiritual" on Sunday, then forget about it for the rest of the week. But there are others who are truly trying to live their faith daily.

On the other hand, I ask, "Is there a such thing as 'church' authority? If so, how much influence does it or should it have over the people?" Most of us would agree, it shouldn't run the State. But outside the political realm, how much do I conform to it, as imperfect as it is? I am not a Transcendentalists, in the strict sense, but I also believe I can connect with God and other believers outside Sunday worship.