Far from undermining religious sensibilities, the advanced communication technologies are actually trading in religious goods and thus provide a new space, a cyberspace, for religious imagination. For if, as I have been arguing, religion disturbs our sense of reality and leaves us a little unhinged, if it causes our pre-set sense of the real and the possible to tremble by exposing us to something hyper-real, then the communications revolution going on in our midst, with its accompanying sense of “virtual reality,” which gives us the power to “visit” distant “sites” in cyberspace with the click of a mouse, is laced with religious implications. We have begun, God help us, to tamper with our sense of what is real. But is that not what every religious figure from the Jewish prophet to the televangelist has dreamed of doing? To break the grip of material actuality and open our eyes to being otherwise, to a dimension beyond reality that lifts the limits imposed upon us by presence and actuality – is that not something that classical religion has been trying to do ever since Moses took a hammer to Aaron’s golden calf, which tried to contract the transcendence of God to a physical object?
A favorite blogger of mine, Fernando Gros, linked to a post of Eugene Peterson quotes the other day that are well worth reading. Peterson is a hero pastor theologian to many of us. Here are three I particularly enjoyed:
Children are the best poets up until they get it bred out of them by about sixth grade. One five-year-old poet said, God who is high and God who is low, help us Lord, who are below.
The work of the poet is to change the way we see the world, to change our imaginations.
The way of writing that is most congenial to the pastor is poetry. Were inundated with a church world that is very programmatic, full of methods and how to do it. Ive always felt uncomfortable with that. Theres almost a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit.
From the Wise Words of Eugene Peterson
I’ve been reading through excerpts of Oscar Romero’s prayers and writings and many strike me but this one really stood out to me this morning as one we need to hear today:
The true protagonists of history are those who are most united with God, because with God’s viewpoint they can best attend to the signs of the times, the ways of Providence, the build of history. Oh, if we only had persons of prayer among those who oversee the fate of the nation and the fate of the economy! If, instead of relying on human devices, people would rely on God and on his devices, we would have a world like the one the church dreams of, a world without injustices, a world with respect for rights, a world with generous participation by all, a world without repression, a world without torture.
Oscar Romero, The Violence of Love, July 17, 1977