Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stopped clock and all that...

I've been favourably quoted on the blog of a Jesuit.

Well well, wonders really never do cease, do they.

He agrees with my point on the Spooky posts, and adds an interesting example from Real Life:

At the very least, it strikes me that some religious believers' tendency to dismiss the "Spooky" element of faith is rather unhelpful. I've witnessed manifestations of this tendency any number of times, but at the moment one particular instance stands out in my mind. I once attended a seminar at which a Roman Catholic liturgist cavalierly dismissed a college student's statement that she liked to attend a particular on-campus liturgy because it was, in her description, "spooky" - conducted solely by the light of candles, punctuated by Gregorian chant, celebrated with a stylized formality that was at once austere and inviting. [Really! a Catholic liturgist dismissed the genuine aspirations of the faithful huh? Gosh! I'm deeply shocked.] In the eyes of this liturgist, to say that one was looking for "spooky" suggested that one wasn't really looking for God. I didn't offer a challenge to the liturgist's statement at the time, but I wanted to reply that it was precisely within the realm of the "Spooky" that many find God.

Contrary to the views of that liturgist and others like him, I would suggest that the widespread hunger for mystery must be accepted and respected. [very generous.] I would suggest, too, that Miss White's question - "What is it all for if there's no Spooky?" - is one that believers of all stripes ought to take seriously. Among other things, asking this question might help us to understand why so many people identify as "spiritual but not religious." To be very frank, people who consider themselves to be spiritual but not religious are wrong - ["Wrong"? How un-nuanced of you!] if you describe yourself this way, you're relying on the mistaken premise that "spirituality" and "religion" are two distinct phenomena that can be separated rather than aspects of the same experience. Nonetheless, I suspect that not a few of the "spiritual but not religious" crowd may have trouble with "The Rules" (which is what they often take religion to be) but still seek the "Spooky" in some form or another. If we wish to convince an increasingly skeptical society that religion and spirituality are inseparable, we would do well to recognize that "The Rules" and the "Spooky" are inseparable as well.


Well, v. nice and gratifying. Thanks for that.

I'm sure you're a very nice person, personally, but I have to warn you of something which I'm sure you're probably already aware if, as you say, you've become a regular reader here.

I don't like Jesuits.

But don't take it personally. I'm a notorious bigot, fascist, anti-choice extremist and self-hating anti-feminist. The list of people I don't like, therefore, is long and growing daily and as early additions to it, the Jebbies are by this late date way down on the bottom with hippies, feminists, communists, all my high school teachers and most of the world's political class.

Just don't get made a bishop, whatever you do.