The urgent task, then, is not in deciding which is deepest, spirituality or politics, religion or theater, but learning how to nurture such an attitude of interconnectedness that we are no longer the aliens on the earth.
Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts
Arthur Holder, GTU Dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the John Dillenberger Professor of Christian Spirituality, spoke on Religious Experience as Sacred Text at the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library’s Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts.
What does it really mean when you tell someone that “I can read you like a book”? What makes the “book” of human experience into a truly sacred text? When does experience become a challenge to the authority of the text, or a substitute for it? This lecture will explore the complex relationship of religious experience to sacred text in the history of Christian spirituality, from the ancient period of stone tablets to the current digital age.
[A religion that] is concerned wholly with the state of society in general [allows an individual] to neglect the discipline of [their] own affections and the culture of [their] own spiritual nature.
Henry Ware, Jr, Unitarian, in his book, On the Formation of Christian Character (1867).
Historian David Robinson says that Ware’s book, “is the single best refutation of the commonplace historical assumption that Unitarianism was a public, rational, and emotionally cold religion.” (Unitarians and Universalists)
Look back, my hearers, upon your lives, and observe the numerous opinions that you have adopted and discarded, the numerous attachments you have formed and forgotten, and recollect how imperceptible were the revolutions of your sentiments, how quiet te changes of your affections. Perhaps, even now, your minds may be passing through some interesting processes, your pursuits may be taking some new direction, and your character may soon exhibit to the world some unexpected transformation. Compare with this the spiritual regeneration of the heart. So is every one that is born of the Spirit.
By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.
Our souls do not like stagnation. Our souls aspire toward growth, that is, toward remembering all that we have forgotten due to our trip to this place, the earth.
The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
You don’t grasp the fact that
what is most alive of all is inside your own house;
and so you walk from one holy city to the next
with a confused look!
Kabir will tell you the truth:
go wherever you like, to Calcutta or Tibet;
if you can’t find where your soul is hidden,
for you the world will never be real!
- Kabir, Trans. by Robert Bly