From religion to spirituality

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It  is now reported that over 35,000 planetary citizens marched in from to the White House demanding an end to the US collusion with tar sands  oil. The  bigger story for Christians  is the acknowledgement that we are living in the midst of a massive paradigm shift in history, one in which the old theology is hopelessly unable to discern. The  churches and in particular the top down bureaucratic Catholic church seems absolutely at sea. The conversations among Catholics as to the next pontiff totally miss the point.

The leadership of the Church has absolutely failed to come to terms with evolution and cosmology. Catholics of a certain age grew up with the idea of “salvation history”, God was active from Abraham on, culminating in Moses and then Jesus. God apparently was not active before  biblical times. Prehistoric man was ridiculed for his simplistic nature beliefs.

This idea it now appears is totally discredited. God has been co-creating within the evolutionary  creation since the beginning. There never has been a time when the divine energy has been absent.

The Church arose around the personhood of Jesus the Jew of the first century. This man who had internalized the God experience in his own community, proclaimed a new inbreaking of God he called malkuta or as we know it “the kingdom”. Jesus never  proclaims himself but holy power which has been gestatiing for eons and it is available to all. This apparently  In Leonardo Boff’s words was “an empowering vision of  of the divine presence in the cosmos”, “Kingdom” obsesses Jesus.It is used about 80 X in the New Testament and the Church a mere two times. This is the same presence which indigenous peoples centuries prior worshipped in dance and song. In the Jesus stories we call the gospels, this power (“exousia” )  shows itself in his healings, exorcisms and words. This power, like the power of evolution results in communion, diversity, wholeness, compassion. Of course it is resisted by those who do not like a challenge to the warped status quo where domination, power, control—especially the patriarchal modus vivendi—of the Roman empire—and indeedin our world today rife with poverty  diminished lives..

So we  ask: are not those arrested outside the White House more in tune with the divine impulse? None of them mentioned God or church in their statements. And the represenatives of organized religion were absent.Those arrested are those who have apparently moved from organized religion to spirituality. How to define such a term? My simple definition would be a radical concern for life and life’s systems, for compassion and loyalty to the earth which they correctly see is under attack.They see in Thomas Berry’s words we have moved from “Wonderworld to wasteworld”.There is something demonic and evil being done to our primary sources of life—earth, air and water.And the Catholic church inter alios  seems obsesssed with administration both hierarchical and patriarchal. moralism and  pelvic orthodoxy as the planet  is burning down,

The Church needs to recover its “kingdom” focus, to be a herald of that evolutionary power. When it does maybe religion can make a comeback.Right now most people  have moved beyond it to spirituality.

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