Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where DOES God live?

Bob over at Eagle's Rest wrote something that prompted a response from me - but the response got so bloody long, I decided instead to turn it into a post so his comment section wouldn't look like War and Peace revisited. Also, I am not entirely certain how well received a pagan viewpoint on the building of churches would be; Bob has been more than kind and patient with my few comments over there, but I am rather more than a little sensitive about causing offense - I don't like to do it - and I worry that some of his readers might not understand what I am trying to convey in my blathering. Still, I wanted someone to read my wandering thoughts, so I figure if I posted here, no one would be ticked off unless they made an effort, since y'all know I'm pagan and bound to be a little peculiar more often than not.

This is an interesting topic, to me, as I have no temple, no church, no structure in which to focus my thoughts towards the Divine, to worship. All the world is my sacred place, and so all the world is where I may find that Divine, if only I can Look, Hear, and permit myself to Feel.

I am, I know, an odd one.

I love old churches, those holy places of wood and stone, smelling of centuries of wax, incense, dusty old tomes, the transcendent voices of generations of choirs still echoing from their walls.

Modern houses of worship leave something to be desired, from what I can see. In the last year I have watched a number of the local churches undergo renovations. They all began as quaint old things with red brick and white board siding, stained glass windows rising tall along the sides, tall steeples reaching high, visible above the treetops - the kind you see on Courier and Ives tins or in Norman Rockwell paintings. Now, they look like...well...prisons - cement block walls with no windows near the ground, perhaps some large abstract stained glass things near the roof. They have shut out the world, shut out sight, sound, everything but their own droning mantra of "Give, give, tithe, tithe, we are better, we are more...", building huge, forbidding fortresses of...what? What are they supposed to be? Certainly not places that welcome the lost, the searching soul, the ones who need shelter or sanctuary. Churches are becoming status symbols...expressions of "We're so holy, look what we can afford to do!"

When I am outside, looking up into the night sky at the half-moon, listening to the frogs singing out into the cool dark, the wind swirling around me, tickling the back of my neck with a stray hair, I am glad to know that I don't have to box it in to have a meeting place for my Gods and I...and I feel a little sorry for the folks who have to go to one place on one day in the week to try and find what I feel around me all the time.


paisana said...

Hm. I think the idea is that the physical church helps focus worship and provides a reminder of worship. While I'm sure that there are a good number of worshipers who save it for church, I think that's a training issue rather than a faith issue. I find God in little ways around me all the time. I try to get to church a few times a year.

Bob Cleveland said...

OK, Kyddryn,

First, I base everything on the Bible, as I find confirmation daily that it's just what people have found it to be over the centuries; namely, the world of God.

Second, the Bible tells me .. said in the context of a message to a local body of believers .. that we're to get together at some unspecified interval, to stimulate one another to love and good works. So we need a place to meet and do those things, which we see as including study of God's word, and most of the other things we do each week in the building.

There are also a number of admonitions in various places, of things we're to do, which can only be done in an assembled body.

So we need a place to meet. I don't revere any of them, old or new. What I revere is what happens there, and I've been in on some pretty neat stuff there. Things most folks have trouble grasping.

God really is all the things He describes Himself as being.

Bob Cleveland said...

Whoops .. that's what I get for hitting "Publish" before "Preview".

First sentence: "Word", not "World".