Sunday’s Washington Post included an interesting column written by a Conservative rabbi and a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In a nutshell, their argument is that modern Americans need to occasionally unplug. They go on to note that our inherent need for reflection is consistent with most religious tradition:
An insistence on creating sacred time and space is one of the key components of nearly all faiths. Traditional Jews and many Christian denominations observe one day a week of sanctified rest. Muslims around the world pause five times a day to bow in prayer. Many religions derived from Eastern traditions include a daily meditative practice. While many Americans feel distant from religion, establishing fixed times for personal renewal has universal appeal.
This could very well become a major selling point for spiritual leaders hoping to increase church memberships.
Rather than trying to compete with an already busy world by adding electric guitars, drums, etc., to worship services, perhaps houses of worship should go the other, more contemplative, route?
Young people might (ironically?) be attracted to some quiet time.
Regardless, the part of the column that interested me the most had to do with how creating a sacred space also increases romantic intimacy:
One woman in her early 30s, who formally converted to Judaism this past week, wrote in a conversion essay: “On Shabbat we are encouraged to live it up, to surround ourselves with friends and family, laugh, tell stories and go to bed knowing that we have a whole morning and afternoon ahead of us to spend however we like. We sing, raise a glass and toast life, then go make crazy, passionate love to our partner. I beg my not-quite-convinced friends to tell me which life, secular or religious, sounds more restrictive?” (Emphasis mine.)
Popular culture has too often portrayed the faithful as prudes. But what is more romantic than a belief in the numinous and the mystical?
As the above quote implies, we have filled our lives with tweets and music and iPhones and sports — and lots of other things to keep us busy. But too often, it’s not just our souls that suffer — it’s also our relationships.
Intimacy requires some peace and quiet once in a while.
And a little wine doesn’t hurt, either…