Tuesday, June 30, 2009

do this...but not that (again)

i felt the need to write a "part 2" to my recent post about rituals. it wasn't quite complete, my thoughts not completely hashed out. i've received responses from my friends josh and jim , and i thank them for their thoughts.

in my other post, i came across as if i am totally against rituals, and that i think they are useless. i actually feel the opposite. i have quite often witnessed people using ritual to enhance their life, be it spiritually or otherwise. and i think that's the difference, if it's used meaningfully or not. when a ritual is used with a sense of sacredness, there is an inherent beauty to it. it can give that reminder, that it's not just about us, it's about the people & things that have gone before us...and will come after us. it gives that sense of place and purpose. along with that comes humility. i think of meditation, buddhist mantras and the 5 pillars of islam as some of these that can be used in this way.

on the other side of the coin is what i typically think of when i hear "ritual". i think of people of faith doing something only out of a sense of obligation, habit and practically without thought. the way i've experienced going to church on sundays, reading the bible, praying, etc within the christian context. it has often felt like if these (and others) are not done, then god's gonna get getcha and god won't love you anymore. as if you have to earn god's love. this is contradictory to what is commonly taught that "god is love" and god's love is unconditional. when ritual is done this way, it loses the sense of connectedness and purpose that the ritual exists to create in the 1st place.