08 September 2010

Irreligious, but Spiritual, when Making Sense of Things. Pt. 1

"Don't talk about religion, politics or money!" was the wisdom of previous generations in my family. I should compile a statistical record of the topics of conversation in my normal day out and amongst people. I'd say those three categories would be very near the top of Frequently Discussed Issues.

I often find myself amongst the less biblically literate, rather than the more biblically literate. That is not a qualitative judgmental statement. It's much the same as saying I usually find myself amongst people who own cars more than amongst those who do not. I usually find myself amongst those who are carrying a few extra pounds rather than those who should add a few.

The fact that many of my co-humans are not biblically literate, or professional theologians, is brought into focus when we have widespread disasters or tragedies that make the news. Those who would never condone religion, and what it has become with it's powerful institutions and political agendas, will speak of miracles, God, angels and biblical stories.

Oh sometimes, in New Zealand, something as important as rugby will elicit a comparison of David to Goliath, need for an ark if the rain doesn't stop, or some such thing. I often wonder about the background of the speaker and the uptake of the listeners when the Bible is referred to.

New Zealand's media outlets have done a super job of keeping everyone informed about events in Christchurch after the earthquake. The media have allowed people to tell their stories and have been as interested in the human side of the story as in politics, economics or buildings.

In the midst of those stories, and comments from the reporters, people have thanked God numerous times and spoken of miracles and angels.

When discussing the Canterbury region and recent finance company failures and then the expectation of seriously high winds, Kerre Woodham asked if locusts were next. Her reference to the plagues in Egypt during Moses' campaign to free Hebrew slaves was apt. In a largely unchurched New Zealand, I wonder how many understood it. Of those who did understand it, how many were under 35 years old?

Technically, a miracle is something supernatural. If you suggest that there is something that causes supernatural events then you maintain a spirituality that opens the door for God, or some other sort of spiritual power.

People often say, "Well, it was meant to be."
If something was meant to be, then who meant it? Who gave the meaning or the purpose to the persons or event or result?

Statistics may show that New Zealand is not very churchified, secular in many aspects, but underneath the politically correct or wounded exterior, there is a spiritual antennae that desires to make sense of things around us.

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