last week, i played hooky --- twice
over my vacation, I realized that I was feeling overdrawn - that I had deposited loads of ideas and teachings & images, with a host of debits around the liturgical markers that have been imprinted on me over 40 years.
the economic metaphors are intentional for me - part of my struggle in between trad'l & emerging faith communities is that my attention (what people thru the ages called devotion) is far too easily consumed with a rational faithing of my life, rather than the embodied gift of sacremental living. in sermon-centric worlds, my emphasis leads to the idea "did I get it" - in liturgical setting, my own sense is that there is no it to get.
a recent article helped me a lot here - Christ and Capital: Money Changers and the Lord’s Table by geoff holsclaw . geoff is co-pastor at Life on the Vine, as well as a doctoral student at Marquette University.
city and suburban dwellers, for texting crazed teens and overworked office managers, for over-styled moms and trying-not-to-be-too-savvy dads, the only place of worship is now within a mall crowded with devoted followers, practicing their religious exercises. Money has built its own temple, creating an idolatry and ideology with its own power and piety. For Philip Goodchild, a British theologian and philosopher, money does not merely facilitate the exchange of goods, but also “demands and shapes time, attention, and devotion” by replacing all previous social orders with its own values and commands (Buy! Sell! Borrow! Lend!), becoming the new god of our times. Because money promises the world (of goods) but only delivers itself, money rises up as a rival to theology by declaring an alternative faith, a faith in money involving a metaphysics, a politics, an ethics, and a theology
there was a moment in the Compline gathering where a sense of reciprocity of gift and return clicked for me. a thurifer walked the aisles, as ~20 strangers stood after twilight in a must sanctuary. a woman sung these words:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake
that is a world out beyond ideas, as rumi would say, out beyond deconstruction & re-imaging. a world where grace is freely given, where healing & comfort lavished, where everything is for love's sake.
i suspect some of this is neuro-science, that my soul is habituated to tuwn to common prayer, when the shopping mall model of faith leaves me ready to make an exchange. but for that odd group gathered around a table, there was an alternative economy.