Monday 13 June 2011

The (Institutional) Church versus The Desert


Supposing someone was to retreat from The World to The Desert in order to pursue higher spirituality...

(The Desert could be physically and geographically remote, or psychologically and societally remote - or both)

...but this very remoteness, precisely that which was desired in order to enable a greater degree of spiritual concentration, itself removed the person from contact with the Institutional Church?


(Especially considering that the someone might be simply a single individual, and that the 'true' Church may now be very small in number; represented as an Institution so rarely as to be very hard to discover, very dispersed, yet very demanding of physical commitments (time, presence, practices).

Suppose this? Something will have to give...

The Church, the sacraments, the guidance, common worship?


"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." KJV 18:20

But supposing not even 'two or three' can gather together? What then?


Yet if a person goes it alone in The Desert, they are highly vulnerable to the fatal temptations of spiritual pride ('prelest'), self-gratification, apostasy and heresy...

Is it not in itself prideful to set oneself apart?


I can't see any earthly answer to the dilemma. 


The Crow said...

The desert is free from human intrusion.
There are not many "temptations" in a desert.
Silence, reality, natural beauty...
Time to stop and just be. Nothing intrudes.
Jesus did it. It worked for him.
It worked for me, too.

Ditch humanity, for a while, and one finds one needs it very much less than one might have imagined.

Anonymous said...

Individual religion is heresy or madness:

Christianity has to be communal to be Christianity. One becomes a Christian by being baptised into a particular existing Christian community. If two or three cannot gather together in his name, not Christianity any more.