Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The listening station

Religious practice, as a social activity not wholly subordinated to commercial exchange, defies simple characterization in the political sense. It is well known for its authoritarian examples -- but these are never exhaustive; counter trends exist. The fact that we don't know about them can't be surprising under conditions of social estrangement: we don't know much about most things when it comes other people.


Anonymous said...

perhaps, but where is such a view of "spirituality" presented in american public discourse? it's all a transaction w/deity, do ut des, quid quo pro, except instead of guarding/scrutinizing the sacred chickens before battle a la Rome, or the sacrificial lamb or what have you, we give deity "morality," conformity to sophomoric mores, spirituality as slavish obedience. and while you joe 12 packs are to faithfully love your family & fill out your timesheet honestly lest god be pissed, larger institutions are "amoral" and can do fuck all for the "betterment of society."

JRB said...

The "american public discourse" interests me particularly on this subject. I'm glad you brought it up.

The Amish schoolhouse shooting was picked up, predictably, as a love song to the national security state -- that is, until the Amish upended the entire premise by forgiving the assailant and extending condolences to his family, effectively resolving the conflict themselves. That confused the hell out of everybody!

Anonymous said...

i'm anon from 12/30 0916: i knew of some people involved in a similar experience, not murder, but rape, here in the shadow of the nation's capitol, in, perhaps no surprise, an urban mennonite church. the woman, w/the church's backing, forgave the man, and it lead to their "reconciliation" in some way (more complex than that, this was many moons ago; i wouldn't presume to know the actual emotional/social content involved, but the police did not get their man).

anyway, liked your post. i'm one of your recent new readers. it actually surprised me, in my readings on the blawgs, et alibi, to read your xmas posting. pleasantly surprised.

prospero anyo nuevo!