Tuesday, September 04, 2012

choosing another way

September's synchroblog is choose my own religion—I love this idea! I'll interpret religion as a practice or a way of being that helps relink, return me to my origins in land, sky, water, sun, heaven, and earthbound community. Many Fridays I play RevGalBlogPals' Friday 5 meme; a Friday 5 last June asked, "What religion/faith besides yours captures your curiosity and why?" I responded, Heathen, Pagan, Celtic spiritualities—because of ways they emphasize the Divine Feminine, celebrating, integrating earth and the astronomical seasons into everyday life, just as I try to do by following the rhythms of the liturgical year as closely as possible.

This month's synchroblog intro mentioned sociological theory, "the primary factor which determines a person’s religion is where in the world that person is born," and that tends to be true. The suggested questions are excellent—they ask about attraction, misgivings, possible relationship to Christianity, how my actions, values, goals might be different there from how I am here if I claimed and embraced this other way.

celtic knotFor this early September, I'll again choose paganism, earth religions, celtic spirituality... when popular media types journal about Christianity and church, sometimes they get it so wrong, often in crazily embarrassing ways. In fact, sometimes people who've supposedly been church insiders for a long time say and do things that indicate they don't get it at all, so writing as a neophyte regarding my new chosen religion, I may not have it right, either.

Like Christianity, spiritual ways that particularly honor earth, ocean, sun, crops, and seasons bring an overarching meta-narrative "Big Story" that's larger and more expansive than the daily annoyances or those overwhelming events we imagine have defeated us. Earthen spiritualities carry exquisite awareness of living within the astronomical seasons; they provide liturgical community celebrations and traditions for observing individual, earth, and community transitions and milestones. Although they affirm cycles of death and resurrection, unlike Christianity's 8th day new creation theology of the death of death itself and the primacy of life, their cycles are endlessly unchanging.

Within those four seasons in which people care for the land and the crops upon it, Hebrew and Christian scriptures as well as individual and corporate journeys also recount and re-enact historical events of covenant, law, transgression, grace, and redemption located within measurable time and space. However, rather than the cycle continuing forever until the end of time, the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ brings the culmination of history; Christianity views all "secular" history through the lens of the cross.

If I'd already been an organic part or peripheral part of one of these religions, I think Christianity – especially a tradition that emphasizes sacraments and the liturgical year with its colors, texts, textures, songs, and symbols in ways that connect to the history of the earth and engender awareness of our elemental origins – would attract me. When I discovered the God of the scriptures came into this world and inhabited a body made from the basic stuff of creation, I'd think wow, "hallowed earth!" Learning about God's sacramental self-revealing in fruit of the vine and harvests of grain I'd realize "holy ground!" And to know that baptism engulfs us in the history of this planet, the history of the people of God and in the reconciling Christ event I'd only started hearing about, I'd want to swim in those "sacred streams!" Christianity would offer a fair amount of what I already was participating in, but it would integrate me more fully with the story of this earth, its flora and fauna, and its people. I'd rejoice in living within the reality of new heavens and a new earth rather than recycled ones!

Whatever way or path I consciously followed, I'd still be concerned about getting rid of artificial food additives and genetically modified organisms; I'd still be passionate about the health of waterways. I'd still be eating very low on the food chain. I'd want to steward creation for future generations and to do whatever possible to help heal the damage that's been done. I'd try to bring my more materialistic neighbors and friends into a more natural, organic, sustainable lifestyle. Yet with paganism, nature religions, celtic spirituality, we're not talking about the radically "other" worldview of the new creation, but one based on human initiative and also on human memory of what had been, human imagination of what might be possible in the future. But as Christians we spend words retelling, actions "remembering" a reality with a far more cosmic scope than that of our wiccan or pagan friends, but like them, we live on this earth doing God's work with our own hands.

Other September Synchrobloggers:

1 comment:

Liz said...

Leah - thanks for taking this subject and using it in a way that reminds me the way that Christianity calls us to honor and care for our natural resources. I especially loved the creative way you incorporated the phrases "hallowed earth" "holy ground" and "sacred streams"