Monday, April 21, 2008

Mike: Response to Rami's Second 4/18 Post

Your last posting prompts me to consider liberation and alignment.

The Sabbath, from my perspective, is a God-given opportunity to lay aside our "normal" preoccupations and assumptions and immerse ourselves in a radically different approach. Your point with regard to work, expanding desires, and noncoercive action is well-taken.

The Sabbath is not an end in itself. Instead it functions to form us into persons more nearly able to live in accord with God's way. Ideally, Sabbath extends its reach in our lives, so that the Sabbath perspective ultimately becomes our only perspective.

I suspect such full-scale transformation is not possible in the course of a human life-time. Still, any number of persons experience it to a significant degree, and they tend to catch our attention. Mother Teresa may be the best known modern example within the Christian tradition.

I wonder how the Sabbath perspective might inform or transform congregational life, if allowed to do so? Any ideas?


MaryAnn said...

Mother Theresa, who is reputed to have lost her faith and stumbled on more or less faking it for the majority of her life, seems an odd example to me of Shabbat living.

MaryAnn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Smith and Rami Shapiro said...

As you see I wasn't too happy with the Mother Theresa model either. But it isn't her loss of faith that troubles me.

First, I wouldn't say she lost her faith. What she lost was her connection with Jesus. That probably made the need for faith all the more necessary or her.

Second, I wouldn't say she was faking it. I think she was acting our her faith but without any person contact with God. You might argue that this attests to just how deep her faith was. Or you might argue that this attests to just how deep her delusion was. The choice depends on your own bias.

My problem with Mother Theresa is political rather than spiritual. Her faith called her to aid the poor but not to end poverty by addressing one of its root causes: over population.

She could have used her moral stature as a fulcrum that could have shifted the consciousness of millions of Christians. How sad she did not do that.

Mike Smith and Rami Shapiro said...

Poor Mother Theresa takes it on the chin these days, doesn't she?

From my perspective, she kept faith when she herself could not longer feel faith. We can not know why she did so. Perhaps she had been delivered from the ego driven life and so was enabled to carry on. Perhaps not. "I believe. Help, Thou, my unbelief." Sabbath begins with observance regardless of one's feelings.

I understand Rami's point about politics. Within Christianity, there's been a long-standing divide between those who think true religion primarily deals in the personal and those who think it deals primarily in the political. I think true religion addresses both, but I do not think all persons are called to do so.

Perhaps Mother Theresa's calling was to a highly personalized ministry to the poor.