Sunday, March 8, 2009

Churches as Gymnasiums, Not Hospitals


Every religion recognizes humans as being curiously constructed of various ingredients not quite stirred together and cooked yet. These include the physical body which I see as a kind of playing field where the game of making a Human takes place. The human spirit is the rational part, or mind that strives for unity, wholeness, health and continual joy. Finally, soul is the illogical, insane, fragmented, dark part of us that leads us into thoughts of fear, anxiety and pathology.


Spirit is compelled to light, joy, peace, compassion and dreams of world peace. Soul is compelled to darkness, turmoil, terror and nightmares. Spirit pulls us straight into the heavens, soul plunges us into the meandering dark depths. We all know both realms of experience. But modern psychology minimizes the necessary work of soul by telling us that we are disordered as bi-polar, manic-depressive, schizophrenic, having multiple personalities and a host of other disparaging terms that often cause more harm than help. We don't need so much to 'cure' these dualities as see their psychic function in making us into Humans. We need to shift our primary focus away from curing unnecessary conflicts, to caring for necessary spiritual isometrics that make us into Humans. Our spiritual churches and psychiatric centers need to resemble gymnasiums rather than hospitals where we treat sick people. Clearly there is room for both metaphors, for sometimes we break spiritual bones and need cures, but the emphasis ought to be on training rather than illness.

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