Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Connected Community

I think it's important that when we ask the fundamental questions of meaning in life, that we do not say "why am I here?", but rather "why are we here?". Human existence is naturally a communal existence - we are existentially interconnected. I cannot ask questions about my own life which have no consequence to others whose lives connect with mine.

The same is true of the Christian faith. Our faith can be personal, but it can never be individual. Jesus didn't intend to make isolated converts but a transformed society in the image of God's kingdom. The recognition of our fundamental interdependence is a basic tenet of all religious understanding. Some food for thought from Rae Lindsay's book, Recognising Spirituality:
The most important lesson that postmodernity can teach spirituality is perhaps the need to reject an unhealthy division between the sacred and the secular. While the 'modern' Enlightenment idea of the human self tended to emphasize our essentially rational and autonomous qualities, in contrast, the postmodern image of the self is not isolated or disengaged from the social world but is in some sense brought into existence by it. Because the self exists in a complex and mobile network of relationships, there cannot be said to be such a thing as a complete or completed self. Postmodernism may encourage spirituality to reject explicitly the individualism that has frequently characterized previous perspectives of spirituality. There is now increasing recognition that our identities are constituted by being in relationship: all things are interconnected and interconnection is the inner reality of things, and persons in themselves.

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