where’s the strife?

Eileen’s home safe and sound. She was pretty tired after her whirlwind trip to California. Fortunately, she was wise enough to take today and tomorrow off work.

I find myself musing about religion a lot these days.

I have long since reconciled myself to my religious upbringing and the fact that my livelihood (church musician) is embedded  in religion.

Nevertheless I am a critic.

Yesterday as I did my work, I found myself pretty disconnected from what was happening.

It’s like something gives way in me and I can no longer buy the communal vision I find myself working in. For years this was this case when I worked for the Roman Catholics.

It was clear to me that there was much about that denomination that I could never espouse: closed communion, antiabortion, antiwomen, antigay, and probably most important of all the weird notion that their faith was the only true religion.

I am amused that despite my own misgivings, I find myself drawn into thinking about and reading about Christianity.

I have been slugging away at Charles Taylor’s The Secular Age. He and other thinkers wonder how Western Civilization went from an overwhelmingly Christian society to one that is decidedly pluralistic.

Reading him and Diarmaid MacCulloch (Christianity: the first three thousand years) makes the notion that there is one true Christian faith pretty hilarious to me.

But more than the Christian thing, I am also confronted daily with people who seem to be living in a different world from me. By that I mean, they seem to gloss over or not know about stuff that is important to me.

Some of this seems to be an orientation to a Christianity that is largely built around the notions of comfort and even compassion. There seems to be almost no challenge in their religion. This lends itself easily to the religion of consumerism which is endemic in the USA and beyond.

And its not only  religion. I find a weird naivete in people I quite like and admire. I fear that this gentle lack of awareness can easily slip into insidiousness, so that what starts out as a sort of willful focus on surface issues ends up omitting truths and even contributing to the very kinds of injustice they (the naive) strongly oppose.

In terms of  Christianity, I continue to remember the line from a hymn: “The peace of God, it is no peace,. but strife closed in the sod,. Yet let us pray for but one thing –. the marvelous peace of God.”

I realize that part of my personality is that I am always involved in struggling with something. And this is probably a case of my own personal blindness, but I keep asking (of politics, of religion) where is the strife? the struggle that is not the silly partisan stuff that colors our daily lives, but the struggle that comes from attempting clarity and continue to seek to learn about and get a handle on what is true?

Heavy stuff for a monday blog I guess.

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