Monday, August 24, 2009
Deed, not Creed! Less talk, more walk!
It's not the new Jerusalem they're longing for -- it's a new Geneva.
To hell with that.
A free church in a free state -- it's the historically American way.
Naw, check the history again. That's our rhetoric not our behavior. Keeping the Church's gasp off of government is the real American struggle. There was only ONE of the 13 colonies with actual religious freedom, and freedom from religion when the Constitution was formed and that was Rhode Island. That's why the first Baptist Church and the first Synagogue in America are only blocks apart in Providence, R.I..
They don't want Geneva, they want the other 12 colonies in 1760. They want a religious King and a State Church, for each of their own States.
It's a matter of thought, deliberation, community life, and a self-critical ability.
The more of that, the better the creed, the better shape and strength and holiness of one's walk.
It's lazy to dismiss it.
It's dangerous to avoid examining it.
It's self-defeating not to shape one that one can "own" in commonality with others.
It's destructive not to "own" one in humility and a sense of self-limitation.
My "religious" creed is somewhat amorphous by the standards of most Churches.
But I think the vast populace of America lives with only the vaguest of creeds,political or religious.
And I was diggin' it. Still soakin' up church after the 1982-2005 (mostly) drought.
You keep eating the body and drinking the blood in silent reverence, ER, every chance you get.
Embodying such a creed every day or four times a week, or two times a week, or even once a week, has kept billions of Christians living faithful, moral, humble lives for centuries.
Try, scaffold and dwelling.
Or, frame and vision.
Or, more classically, a "rule," in the Latin sense of "regula": a pattern, a practice in which one approaches meaning and experience.
If you practice a forehand, taking time to pay attention to footwork, hip movement, shoulder and head position, one can start hitting very good forehands.
And then, in live action, one is not supposed to have that all in their head anymore. The goal is to make it so patterned, so ingrained, that now one is free from thinking about technique and can enter the freedom of experiencing play.
This is an old understanding, born in the earliest experiences of the church and, indeed all meditative and spiritualist traditions.
Protestantism, secularism, and American frontier pragmatism has thrown all this out over time.
Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" were al part of a slow-burn reintroduction from the seventies on of American Christianity to the purpose of discipline.
DrLBJ, by virtue of narrowly focusing on power interests in every instance, trods over the lessons learned by learned authorities about the shallowness of the untrained mind when it approaches spirituality.
How much of this have we seen, though, in the last forty years?