Thursday, April 29, 2004

Walking Away

I've been thinking today about the Desert Fathers. They walked off into the desert rather than participate in the scurrying for status within the Church that occurred once it became a legitimate religion under Constantine. The scramble to purchase real estate and to quickly establish liturgical customs borrowed from the Roman aristocracy left them no choice but to simply walk away. The routinization of the Church stifled the movement of the Spirit. From these Bartleby-like dissenters grew the monastic tradition.

At some point one must admit that an attempt to be a catalyst for change from within is most likely based on delusions of grandeur. People are going to do what they want to do. We can't change them, and it is questionable as to what degree we can even assume to have the right to change them.

But, at the same time, can a person continue to be a part of a system, or a society, that is becoming a culture of death and a machine grinding out destruction? Can we live in the midst of a society that is rooted in a hedonism masked behind lofty ideals and the facade of freedom without these root themes becoming a part of ourselves? Can we affirm that the massive increase in options, the luxury of so many choices, is a positive development, when little wisdom is offered how to make such choices? Is the right choice even important? Or is the act of choosing the only important factor? Are we to simply be complacent consumers?

So, today I'm contemplating another option; simply walking away. What has brought me to this point? Nothing I can put my finger on. A little of this, and a little of that. Or maybe the old neurotransmitters are acting up again?

Don't miss The Jesus Factor tonight at 9 on Frontline. They will explore the spirituality of George Bush. Maybe more reasons why the desert is looking more and more attractive?

J.

UPDATE: You can find the times for Frontline in your area here.

From the site;

The Jesus Factor
As an evangelical Christian, President Bush has something in common with the 46 percent of Americans who describe themselves as being 'born again,' or having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Often has the president recounted praying about major decisions facing the nation — but what do we actually know about the rudiments of George Bush's faith? To what extent do the president's spiritual beliefs impact or influence his political decision-making? And how closely do Bush's religious views mirror those of the country's burgeoning and politically influential evangelical movement?
...and in other news... The Rt. Rev. Otis Charles, retired bishop of Utah, married Felipe Sanchez Paris before several hundred people at St. Gregory's of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco over the weekend.

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