Monday, January 26, 2009
Where is Jesus and Buddha when you need them?
I am reading Richard Rohr's book Hope Against Darkness which he wrote with John Feister.
In the opening chapter, Chapter one, "The Postmodern Opportunity" he says some interesting things like, referring to Stephen Carter, "He says there's no belief in anything except power, possessions, and presige in America, while a religious fascade is kept up." p.7
A little further down on the same page he says, "In a market-driven culture like ours, things no longer have an inherent value, but only an exchange value. 'Will it sell? Will it win? Will it defeat the opponent?' These are the first concerns, and sometimes the only concerns of the market mind." p.7
And then he says, "The 'temple' of creation has then become a place of mere buying an selling. No wonder Jesus was driven to rage at such a scene, and consciously made 'a whip out of cord' to drive it out(see John 2:15)." p.7
"Once we lose a sense of inherent value, we have lost all hope of encountering true value, much less the Holy." p.7
I would seem to me that if Unitarian Universalism is to be relevant and meaningful in the postmodern world it must develop a theology of reverence for the inherent value of creation. Frankly, I don't see it. During my experience at PMUC, it was strikingly absent, and for over 35 years they have been operating on their savings and historic building with pulpit fills. The congregation has slowly died off and with the recent departure of alienated congregants, it is almost moribund with only about 15 pledges to provide less than adequate resources for continued operation.
Reading the debates of the UUA Presidential candidates also strikes me as very sad as rather than exercise moral and religious leadership, the candidates have been relegated to political roles pandering to interest groups within the church for votes to win. It is hard to imagine Jesus, or Buddha, doing such a thing.
Perhaps, as the postmodern view says, there is nothing sacred, and all is up for grabs. We can deconstruct the mystical into its component parts and capture it in the mundane so that it can be manipulated like objects for secular advantage.
I am looking for a religion which is based on something more than just the mundane. I am looking for a religion which has some sense of the inherent value of life that cannot be turned into a business for profit. I am looking for a religion which restores some sense of reverence and awe for the transcendent. It seems lost to me and I am wondering where is Jesus and Buddha when you need them?