Tuesday, February 23, 2016
The "Spirit" Isn't Necessarily the Cure for Disagreements
My pneumatology, like my theology, christology, and ecclesiology, is rather "low." Important, of course, but I don't use words like "god" and "spirit" (or even "the universe") to suggest that groups, even principled organizations, are somehow guided infallibly by cosmic forces. In my spiritual view and experience, devout, sincere people can make mistakes. In my understanding, organizations can mean well and ask the god of their understanding for assistance and still do really bad (or at least, ineffective) things. "God told me" and "trust the spirit" and "just pray about it" and "God will provide" are trite phrases that can become utterly meaningless, and worse, abusive. Honest disputes, real questions, faithful disagreements, and differences of opinion do not suggest an unwillingness to be open to spiritual insights. When church people disagree, and choose to hide behind tired old verbiage of simple piety rather than respectfully addressing the honest differences, they are neither honoring the Divine particularly nor are they offering anything helpful to a possible resolution of differences. My having an opinion that differs from yours is not an affront to the Olympian deities! However, someone insisting that honest disagreement is a mistrust of spiritual energies does cheapen the religious enterprise.