Meanderings, Practices

Practiced habits speak

I’m trying to write a book right now of memoirs of coming to New York in the 1980s and what that was all like. And one of the things that occurred to me is that — I was in the art world in those years. I was hanging out, getting a degree in art history, God help me, and all that. And the weird thing about it is that I realized then that understanding modern art really was like a religion, inasmuch as it was a practice before it was a dogma: that you could never really get it by understanding the way one picture had changed another, how Cubism had created Expressionism, which created Surrealism, and so on; that it was a practice of interpretation.

And I think that that’s something that is still insufficiently well understood, that what religion brings us is not a dogma but a practice. That’s the rich thing it brings us. That’s the significant thing that it brings us, and that the idea of having a spiritual practice is one that’s completely compatible with the idea of being extremely skeptical of dogma; that those two things are not at war. They may be in tension, the way so many rich things in our life are in tension, but they’re not at war.

Adam Gropnik in an extended conversation at On Being with Krista Tippett.

Church, Meanderings

We Care More!

The church must rise to this challenge from Seth Godin in every age!

Here’s a sign I’ve never seen hanging in a corporate office, a mechanic’s garage or a politician’s headquarters:

WE HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE:

We care more.

It’s easy to promise and difficult to do. But if you did it, it would work. More than any other skill or attitude, this is what keeps me (and people like me) coming back.

Meanderings, Quotes

Praying with Thomas Merton

James Martin in a recent interview with Krista Tippett at OnBeing offered this prayer from Thomas Merton.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always,
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude)