Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Community and faith

AKMA writes about devotion and community that his devotion is: "To God, as God has been revealed in and to the lives of a body of people big enough to damp out individual idiosyncrasies."

That's the hard part for me. How do I reconcile my idiosyncratic experience of God with the way the community (eg. a parish) understands God? Slowly I have learned to describe my own experiences more in the language of the church, but it isn't always a comfortable fit. A lot of what I most value in my experience of God is indeed idiosyncratic.

I understand intellectually the need for a community to discern what of individual experience to accept. I went to a church service Sept. 11, 2001 where an individual got up and said that God is punishing us for the evils of modern life. I don't doubt that that individual believed that he heard God directly just as sincerely as I do, but don't think his community (it wasn't my church) would be wise to follow him.

But I guess individualism is deep in me even though I question it politically. At least at this stage in my journey my deepest loyalty is to the truth of my individual experience, not to what the community tells me.

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