Reading this book by Abraham Heschel. It's dense. About Judaism, it is going to take me the rest of the year to finish. I know it. But it's good. I've always had some major problems with "church" + "Christianity" in general. I won't get into it really, but I think the main reason in my uneasiness is that there's no mystery in it any more. No mystery in the "whole thing."

Look at most Christian music. It's like insanely elementary + shallow (and also the fact that "Christian" has become an adjective in that sentence). Anyone can write a song about lifting your hands + eyes + stuff. And it's all the same thing. Over + over. There's nothing left to explore in that. And preaching. The pulpit. That whole thing is just blown way out of proportion. It's this teacher + an audience + there's no where else to go in that. Completely horizontal. There's no other dimension in a so called "congregation" or whatever that's suppose to mean.

But the main point of this post is this Heschel guy + his thoughts on Judaism + how getting back to the mystery + wonder of God is the whole point. It's about soft spots and not knowing what's next. Scary stuff when you think about it. I posted this quote a few months back:

As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. The beginning of our happiness lies in understanding that life without wonder is not worth living. What we lack is not a will to believe but a will to wonder.

And I'm starting to believe that. Our will to wonder, which basically does not exist, is going to kill us. Instead we fill it with false things like adjectives about music + a pulpit + a building.



Rusty said...

Some compelling thoughts.

The more involved one becomes, and more time one spends with other believers, the more the institution seems to show weaknesses, and an over-reliance on a small group of men.

There is an oppressive shallowness to contemporary American Christianity, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth...

The materialistic nature of the Church / Christian Bookstore / Christian Music establishment is a force to be reckoned with, and 9 times out of 10, I think they do more harm than good.

(Visualizes Jesus walking into a contemporary MegaChurch and trashing the 'cafe' and calling the Pastors & Elders a brood of vipers... Good times.)

Revolu said...

Yea man. In complete agreement there. The "establishment" of American Christianity is scary + the fact that so many smaller, more independent churches just gradually fall into that place despite their resistance to it is discouraging. I think it all comes from this sense of wonder Heschel mentions. And I have hope there is a way back to it.