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.


drlobojo said...

Some thoughts:
Well in the OT there was of course "church authority" because the contract was with a nation of people and contained stipulations as to priesthood and temple and the authority given there to.
Now the Roman church and other like type churches being products of government have replicated the same thing but on a gentile and national or international basis.
So for Jews, Catholics, Coptic, Eastern Orthodox etc. the authority of the church is a given.
Yet Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was within each of us. Within the individual. But he also taught that he was one with God and we were one with him.
So we are subject to God's will, but by choice. Thus we are in the Kingdom of God.

What is missing is the Government of God. God does not govern us. He teaches us how to govern ourselves.
He also has warned us against governing others too much, e.g. the mote and the beam. He also explicitly creates the seperation of Church and State, when Christ declared that we render unto Ceasar what is his and to God what is God's.
Lastly and most importantly, during the temptations in the wilderness, Jesus was shown the Nations of Earth and given the opportunity to impose his mission and God's will and the Kindom of Heaven upon them all by fiat. He said no. He also rejected the role of earthly messiah and took the role of the messiah of the soul.

Think on this. Did Jesus specifically and unambiguiously speak of "the church" as we use it today? Would we find Jesus in one of our churchs today? Where would you go to find Jesus in the 21st century if he was doing the same things he did in the first century?
Why aren't we there with him?

pecheur said...

I have no idea to the question, "Did Jesus specifically and unambiguiously speak of "the church" as we use it today?"

I have been challenged to ask that same question. I really do not know. I think there are similarities, but I see some great differences also.

The issue of the Kingdom of God is equally perplexing. For sure it will require more thought and more insight. I'll start where you left me.