Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Spiritual Apartheid

Re-reading Judith Hougen's book Transformed Into Fire, and came across this idea this morning. The phrase is taken from William Shannon's book Silence on Fire, and it is "the mentality that sets God apart from creation" (quoting Shannon). Hougen adds, "Spiritual apartheid is the belief that God is more present and active in certain times and places than in others. We shut God out of our consciousness during those moments that we label as nonspiritual, which constitute the majority of our day" (p.188).

Her point is that we think of "sacred times" when God is present and active and "secular times" when he is not. Thus, we relegate whatever is mundane, earthy and boring to the "secular" and miss God. Since each moment is truly God-saturated and there is in reality no separation, what makes the "sacred" times different from the "secular" ones? "The difference," she says, "is our openness to his presence and our willingness to walk in awareness of God" (p.188-9).

I'm trying to fight the tendency today to settle for a workday devoid of God. I'm going to try to see each moment as sacrament, and to practice the presence of God.

1 comment:

Chad Lewis said...

Wonderful thought. I know that I too often functionally believe that God is present when I feel good or feel Him, but when I feel dumpy, that He is farther away and distancing Himself from me. I "know" this isn't true, but something deep inside believes it still is. May God continue to teach us! He is always present.