OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

Middle Ground and Practice Understood

Middle Ground and Practice Understood

The middle position would be that of Isaiah Berlin, of liberal competing objective truths, but there is not a religious position as far as I know.

I wrote this: http://www.change.freeuk.com/learning/socthink/isaiahberlin.html
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Someone like John Hick, who retains objectivity, ends up with an mainly undefined Real. If the real gets defined, it becomes just another position. It has to contain Buddhism and Christianity, so the Real cannot be theism (or is it?).

With liturgical words, I do not “translate” any more as I once did. These are ancient words, many with lost meanings. My theology here is that of Marcel Mauss the gift, which goes to the heart of defining something as “religio” or binding. You give something and receive something greater. It binds communities and societies. You give in a material sense (often) and receive the spiritual. To me a ritual is a passing through, a going to the other side, thinking again and reorientating. So this is what I do. I let the art of religion waft over me, and then I let it be part of my reorientation.

As for Christianity specifically, it is about the ethics of reversals and an immediacy of outlook and action. It is about treating them as we, while they remain them. It is about universal inclusion and plural commitments. It is about routes to peace.

From Western Buddhism I take salvation through clarity and decentering, and not seeking any spiritual reward. I have no interest in life after death but have an interest in how people can feel better themselves when relating to me.

I am increasingly interested in the Islamic concept of jihad as a personal commitment, a kind of constant reckoning up of spiritual attention.

I take both the clarity and complexity of humanism and its research base. There has to be proper historical method - a not so secret fan of Arthur Marwick who trashes the Sociology I teach. Yet when all that is done there is also the story to take you, as it is. This brings me back to just going along with the words.

For me religion is symbolic, as language is. I therefore prefer richer forms of worship. This would be such as a higher than usual Anglican eucharist or evensong, it also includes being surrounded by art and using music, and I would include Buddhist art. I see Islamic calligraphy like this too, but reject their rejection of art!

In 2003 I stopped attending a Unitarian church where I had been increasingly dissatisfied, and have been working on my theology; the Unitarian church was too narrow and small in its ethos (this is not about numbers, I care little about how few attend). This perceived narrowness may have to change with its new minister, and the recently heard news that a Muslim woman read from the Qur’an at the pulpit on July 10th was fantastic and courageous, and I know the minister is seeking to advance the intellectual level with critical meetings on scriptures and alternative Sunday worship. But I am in the direction I am now. I did pursue ministry in two settings, but it is probably too late now.


All Truth is God's Truth... or... By: mars-hill (26 replies) 18 August, 2005 - 11:39