Christianity is more than a doctrine. It is Christ Himself, living in those whom He has united to Himself in one Mystical Body. It is the mystery by which the Incarnation of the Word of God continues and extends itself throughout the history of the world, reaching into the souls and lives of all men, until the final completion of God’s plan. Christianity is the “re-establishment of all things in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10)
Thomas Merton – The Living Bread [ix]
Mentoring as Cure of Souls
Down deep, men and women began/begin to feel a yearning to be connected with others in a way that didn’t rely on a cable, keyboard, or cell tower.
The September 2005 special edition of Newsweek’s “Spirituality in America” sums up our spiritual hunger very well: “Today, then, the real spiritual quest is not to put another conservative on the Supreme Court, or to get creation science into the schools. If you experience God directly, your faith is not going to hinge on whether natural selection could have produced the flagellum of a bacterium. If you feel God within you, then the important question is settled; the rest is details.” Again… David Stoddard.
A Christianity which is not basically mystical must become either a political ideology or a mindless fundamentalism. Watts, Alan W.. Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion.
This is exactly the situation in the second decade of the 21th Century. On the left the Church is political ideology and the right is brain dead fundamentalism. Betwixt and between these camps of true believers lies the company of the beleaguered.
Many do not know that before he was a Buddhist Master, Alan was Father Watts, Episcopal chaplain at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. The following long quote is from Behold the Spirit, a work that I consider a classic. His critique of the present condition of the Christian Church in America was made in 1947. The man was a prophet. Perhaps if anyone had listened he might well remained a Christian.
Fr. Watts continues, “Naturally, institutional Christianity will, in its present form, continue to supply the demand which remains for a monarchical religion. But a considerable number of ministers and even congregations—not to mention millions of reasonably intelligent young people—realize that churches must “put up or shut up,” and that the chief business of religious facilities and assemblies is to provide a social milieu for religious experience. This is no mere matter of changing the externals—of having rock bands instead of organs and Kyrie eleison set to jazz, nor even of turning churches into social service centers with the idea that t*his would be practicing Christianity seven days a week instead of just talking it on Sundays. Continue reading