Four interesting articles

I've recently read four interesting articles online.In Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me, UCC Minister Lillian Daniel takes aim at those who reject traditional religious affiliation but who retain a sense of themselves as "spiritual" beings. She sees such a position as shallow and narcissistic, and suggests that such persons find themselves more "fascinating" than ancient religions, but in truth such self-centered thinking is ultimately "bland." In response, Religious … [Read more...]

Relations, Integrally

Happy New Year, everyone. May this be a year of good and beautiful dreams come true.The other night at a Christmas party I had an interesting conversation with my friend Joe and a couple of young men who are students at the Art Institute of Chicago. We spoke about the relationship between art and politics. One of the students was very interested in this connection, and felt that "justice" was a category that could be applied to how we understand pretty much any kind of artwork. Does any given … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Mystics tell us that spiritual progress requires moral progress; indeed, certain moral imperatives are laid down as preliminaries to the mystical life. There is no point, for example, in proclaiming a higher love is ordinary love is lacking; there is no point in aspiring to see God if we persecute our neighbour; there is no point in preaching universal peace if we participate in war and cruelty; there is no point in preaching Christ with hatred or wrath in our hearts. — Patrick Grant, A Dazzling … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Many Christians place great legalistic, spiritual importance on abstinence from relatively trivial things (from dancing to movies to swearing to card playing to mowing the lawn on Sundays). This is because Christians aren't much different from others in relation to important things (basic values and behavior concerning wealth, power, prestige, justice, security, peace, work, time). Christians know they should be different from the world in some way — otherwise, what would Christianity mean? So, i … [Read more...]

The Stake and the Soil

This thought occurred to me this morning:So often, we approach religion as if it were a stake being used to hold up a plant in the garden. You and I and everyone else are the poor unruly plants, in need of the strong sturdy stake to provide firm, unyielding, inflexible (and completely external) "support." This support helps the plant grow, but it also restricts the plant movement. "Conservatives" are those who think the loss of freedom is worth the chance to grow straight and tall, while … [Read more...]

Tita’s Catacomb

Google Alerts notifies me whenever a blogger mentions contemplative prayer (among several other topics I keep an eye on). This morning, it directed me to a reference to contemplation in a blog called Tita's Catacomb: Reclaiming Sexuality and Soul. Most bloggers write about contemplative prayer either to celebrate it or condemn it, but right away I saw that this blog belonged to a category all its own. Its description pretty much says it all: "A written commentary documenting my efforts to … [Read more...]