The Rediscovery of Spirituality

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...Image via WikipediaThe Rediscovery of Spirituality
Another aspect of modern life is a loss of formal religious practice in many people’s lives, which is not only a threat to spirituality as such, but also deprives the soul of valuable symbolic and reflective experience.  Care of the soul might include a recovery of formal religion in a way that is both intellectually, spiritually and emotionally satisfying.  One obvious potential source of spiritual renewal is Christianity.
Some people are fortunate in that their childhood tradition is still relevant and lively to them, but others have to search.  Many modern people feel detached from their family’s religious tradition because it was a painful experience for them or it seems just too “not relevant” and simple-minded.  Even for these people, though there is a way that the inherited religion may still be a source of renewed spirituality: anyone can become a “reformer,” in relation to their own family religion.
When we look at the history of world religions, in almost every case we see a “living” tradition.  The fundamental insights of every tradition are ever subjected to fresh imagination in a series of “reformations,” and what might otherwi8se be a dead tradition becomes the base of a continually renewing spiritual sensibility.  The process is not unlike the work of Jesus, who made a new law out of the old by adding the beatitudes of his own Sermon on the Mount.  An individual’s life may reflect this cultural dynamic in religion, going through various phases, experiencing conflicting allegiances and convictions and surviving radical reforms and commitments.
Everyday Christianity
There are two ways of thi8nking about church and religion.  One is that we go to church in order to be in the presence of the holy, to learn and to have our lives influenced by that presence.  The other is that church teaches us directly and spiritually to see the spiritual dimension of everyday life.  In this latter sense, religion is a “{Quality of Life factor},” a way of sustaining mindfulness about the religion that is inherent in everything we do.  For some, religion is a Sunday affair, and they risk dividing life into the holy Sabbath and the secular week.  For others, religion is a week-long observance that is inspired and sustained on the Sabbath.
Without this lowly incorporation of Christianity into life, Christianity can become so far removed from the human situation as to be irrelevant.  People can be extremely religious in a formal way and yet profess values in everyday life that are thoroughly secular.
An appreciation for vernacular spirituality is important because without it our idealization of the holy, making it precious and too  removed from life, can actually obstruct a genuine sensitivity to what is Christian.  Churchgoing can become a mere routine experience or, even protection against Christianity impacting their life.  Formal religion, so powerful and influential in the establishment of values and principles, always lies on a plane between the divine and the demonic.  Religion is never neutral.  It justifies and inflames the emotions of the spirit, and it fosters profound peace.
Growing old is one of the ways the soul nudges itself into attention to the spiritual aspect of life.  The body’s changes teach us about fate, time, nature, mortality, and character.  Aging forces us to decide what is important in life.  Spirituality is seeded, germinates, sprouts and blossoms in the mundane.  It is to be found and nurtured in the smallest of daily activities.
Ritual maintains the world’s holiness.  Knowing that everything we do, no matter how simple, has a halo of spirituality around it and can serve the soul enriches life and makes the things around us more precious, more worthy of our protection and care.  In a life that is animated with ritual there are no insignificant things.  When we are denying ritual a role in ordinary affairs.  We are chasing away the soul that could animate our lives.
We go to church in order to participate in that strong traditional ritual of giving glory to our God, but also to learn how to do rituals.  Tradition is an important part of ritual because the soul is so much greater in scope than an individual’s life.  Rituals that are “made up” will not bring glory to our God.  If we are going to give ritual a more important place in life, it is helpful to be guided by formal religion and tradition.
The soul might be cared for better through our developing a deep life of ritual rather than through many years of counseling for personal behavior and relationships.  We might even have a better time of it in  such soul matters as love and emotion if we had more ritual in our lives and less psychological adjustment.  We confuse purely temporal, personal, and immediate issues with deeper and enduring concerns of the soul.
The soul needs an intense, full-bodied spiritual life as much as an in the same way that the body needs food.  It’s easy to go crazy in the life of the spirit, warring against those who disagree rather than expressing our own soulfulness, or taking narcissistic, satisfactions in our beliefs rather than finding meaning and pleasure in spirituality that is available to everyone.  Spirituality is powerful, and therefore has the potential for evil, as well as for good.  The soul needs spirit, but our spirituality also needs the soul – deep intelligence, and a profound knowledge & sensitivity to Christianity, genuine Christian community, and a strong attachment and commitment to God.  Our culture is in need of theological reflection that tends the soul’s need for spiritual direction.  In order to accomplish this goal, we must gradually bring soul back to Christianity and the world.

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About georgehach

I am a retired Lay Minister, acting as a prophet for God to understand the end times that is comingg and how to prepare for it.
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