Thursday, December 4, 2008


What is the religious? What is the secular? As a person of some sort of faith, should I cruise my philosophically dirempted/fragmented/sometimes happy ass to a meeting place to commune with 'the Real' (I'm not Lacan, though that term somewhat symbolizes what I'm saying, and you know what I mean anyway) on a regular basis? Once a week, coincedentally on Sundays? My mother thinks that I should. She tells me that that's the way I was raised and that I need some sort of spiritual protection. Truth of the matter is, it's just those youthful experiences in these meeting places that pose as pit stops for the divine that I've been wounded. Artistically. Intellectually. Historically. Culturally. Why the hell would I want to go back to a place like that? Where a mediocre orator reads passages from centuries ago and gives a substandard interpretation with only his (they were dudes for the most part, that's not a pronoun symbolizing all of humanity) socioeconomic mediation. Chambers where I was told to separate myself from those who didn't believe like me, who hadn't experienced 'the Real' the way I had (or the way that they had, the way that they thought that I had), but if I make this split, then I make no split at all, for in all my separations, I only draw farther from the inseparable secular who desires to make me whole, and I it. Oh well. Going to church is ancient for me.

However, when my urban pant-saggin' walk dances me past the little, cold, dark chapel in the Chicago Theological Seminary, the ghosts that I thought I'd given up in my turn from Pentacostalism appear once again. Now they seem more real. As I kneel before the altar amidst medieval texts and liturgical unlit candles, my soul takes a warmth unfathomable. I mumble some 'prayer' to whatever 'the Real' is, and am translated, just like I listened to Deva Premal's renditions of native mantras. I then am in reality but beyond it but in it. That forth and back motion declares in symbol that when I left the church, that 'Real' had never left me. This essence, different but same, transmitted by the mayas on stone walls, the Buddha in reversion of common ways of life, and Jesus' willingness to embrace the cross, among others, bombards me. Then, as I embrace the temple of God that surrounds us all, I discover that going to church is to trek towards an idol. This sacred incision into space and time that chills my flesh in this secluded place is the same force grabbing my spirit when I grip mics and speak in tongues logos, inventing angels. People are walking by to go to the seminary co-op. Future pastors speed by the realm with thoughts of ravaging students and/or parishoners in heated passions of ilicit sex. But I forget that they're there, as I realize that the universe's essence that I live every day is only amplified in this place ony because it was intentionally constructed to speak of God. This is only the refueling. I must go out and embrace the world as the world embraces me. You may not see me going to church, but this encounter in this sacred space reminds me to always live church.

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