For some time I have struggled with the sacred/secular divide that to me seems to be quite prevalent in popular church culture. I might be wrong, as I am aware of a tendency I can have of generalising (being accountable to your best friend and wife means such things are pointed out to you on a regular basis!), but … there does seem to be a populist divide that seems to say … ‘this stuff is ok and ‘holy’, while this stuff is not good and should be ‘treated with care’.
Now clearly not everything is good for us. If I went out today and drank 15 pints of my favourite, and beautifully created by God, ale the likelihood is that I would not wake up. Alternatively if I pray all that for my next door neighbour to receive badly needed food and simply stay on my knees in my house with my full cupboards there is a possibility that she won’t wake up. But, the abuse of something good does not make that ‘something’ wrong or bad for you.
Richard Rohr’s thoughts this week have been exploring this sacred/secular thing at more depth. I have been nodding away and smiling as his words have reminded his readers that all of creation was created by God, that God is everywhere, that God is both within and without (a Gatsby link!), that all people are created in the image of God. Now if all that is true then it goes that there is no where where God cannot be. If God is present then by default the place where God is must be sacred, so … everywhere is sacred. It’s simple although messes with my head quite a bit.
I think of Moses at the burning bush. He takes of his shoes as he sees the flames and hears God’s voice. Does he take off his shoes because the ground suddenly becomes sacred, or does he remove them because the ground was always sacred and he has just realised? I think it is the latter. The ground I walk on each day as I wander Gillingham High Street is sacred …. that is quite a mind blowing thought for so may reasons!
I think today’s thought from Rohr kind of hits this on the hed for me. Maybe it is not so much about sacred and secular, but more about surface and depth …. ‘Everything is profane if you live on the surface of it, and everything is sacred if you go into the depths of it’ read more here as Rohr puts it better than most ever could!