Wondering about Self-Congratulation....

I find myself in "church meetings" from time to time. There are frustrations associated with most institutional meetings but I couldn't put my finger on a particular frustration I had with church meetings.

Then someone who never attends such meetings found themselves in one. And I had to ask - at the conclusion - what they thought of it.

They told me they detected a significant feeling of self-congratulation. By this they meant, even amongst the quite open-minded group that were present, there was a pervading sense that the church "had spirituality under control" or was "the peak body for spirituality."

Suddenly a light went on for me. That's the frustration I often feel. A mild sense - (well, often more than mild) - of a stifling self-sufficiency and a separation from the world.

Recently the Uniting Church in Australia made some marvellous decisions about its constitutional preamble. The preamble now recognises an existing indigenous spirituality in this land prior to European settlement. Knowing the mechanics of the church, it is a wonderful achievement for the church to make this institutional recognition. So be assured that I don't want to detract form that achievement. Yet the hyperbole from some church groups about the decision might lead you to believe that the institutional church had just led society down a new path.

Let's face it, hundreds of people have been following God's spirit (church jargon for the perceived tendency in the cosmos to value diversity and gather that diversity towards unity) in this direction. Various world citizens - within and beyond the church - have recognised a profound spiritual consciousness - pre-settlement - in our indigenous brothers and sisters. And this has been happening for quite a long time.

The institutional church is finally recognising that movement of the spirit. I am not criticising that response time. I am simply asking that we say our "hoorays" humbly.......... And recognise that there are so many other "movements of the spirit' where parts of the world are calling the church towards them .....not the other way around. I'm fairly sure that has always been the case.

I guess that last paragraph sums up my "wondering" for this blog entry. We - individuals and institutions - can all be self-congratulatory. We all need help to say our "hoorays" humbly. I wonder I the church would be open to a little help on that front too?

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