Summer Vision

September 24, 2008 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

This summer, I found myself in a good place spiritually and I was able to be at peace with the world. No annoyance with, or hate for anyone or anything, just a pleasant lightness of being and a smile at the foibles of humanity. In this sunny place I came to terms with my notion that the ‘newer’ religions (basically meaning the Abrahamic ones) take themselves way too seriously and consequently have developed arrogance. We constantly over-estimate our place in creation. Some of the older traditions like Taoism or Hinduism as well as ancient societies like our Native Americans have overcome arrogance and learned to walk softly in and with Creation. As I see it, the immanent ‘Kingdom of God’ that Christianity seeks will be realized when all peoples of the earth have overcome arrogance and learned humility. However, I want to share a vision that came to me this summer. Humility and lack of arrogance were a big part of it.

One lazy summer day, my mind’s eye blinked open and a place came into focus. It was a familiar one. I recognised it as the downtown main street of Uxbridge, where I live, but the building that became my destination doesn’t exist. As in all dreams/visions there were inconsistencies. We were in the old, dense part of downtown yet there was a nice treed parking lot fronting a large modern building. It looked like it could be a shopping mall, but I sensed that what was inside wasn’t for shopping. I zoomed in though the door.

The building interior was colourful and inviting. At the center was a large circular space, like a food court at a mall. People were chatting at tables or on couches arranged as conversation pits. Around the raised perimeter were ‘storefronts’ offering such services as food booths, daycare, healthcare, fitness, library, police station (!?), counselling offices and meeting rooms. I saw they were all social amenities, no retailing save for the food, then I zeroed in on one place that was bright, inviting and busy. It had no name but all people knew what it was. I termed it the ‘Spirit Place’. It was the main feature of the structure. This was the local home where people of all backgrounds shared space to explore Spirit. There was a large ‘sanctuary’ where Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans, atheists and sundry other groups reserved time to congregate. The ‘sanctuary’ was also a room where all traditions gathered to worship together on a regular basis. Studies of truth texts were held regularly. Seminars on all aspects of life were run. People came and went all day and the center court area was always abuzz with people visiting over a beverage or a snack. It was ‘the’ place to gather.

My mind’s eye blinked and I zoomed out to an aerial view and an overall understanding of this place. It was a one stop kind of place for people to be with others and learn about themselves. It was a locus where the various spiritual groups shared the costs and profits. They shared harmony and understanding and promoted it by example. All were welcome regardless of faith or lack of. Wherever this vision came from, I realized it was definitely workable but not practical in today’s world. Things must change. The vision closed and I was left contemplating two questions. One was: Would the world make the changes necessary to realize a community such as this? Two: What would you call such a place?

What’s needed for a realm like this to be realized has been preached for millennia; Jesus taught us to humbly love God (Creation) and each other. Gandhi taught tolerance saying, “Religion is more than life. Remember that his own religion is the truest to every man even if it stands low in the scales of philosophical comparison.”  The Tao speaks of greatness necessitating the practice of humility (Tao te Ching LVI, The Teh of Humility). We all must overcome arrogance with humility. We must stop the arrogance of assuming that our place as humans is at the pinnacle of creation. We are simply a part of creation. The world today is far from this humble ideal, but things can change rapidly.

The building in the vision was a mash up of shopping mall, town square and church. The vision building could be called a ‘church’, but that name carries so much baggage that something new and different is needed, just as new and different attitudes are needed too. This building isn’t about ‘church’ as we know it; a social club for people subscribing to certain beliefs. This building is about community. Calling such a place ‘community center’ is logical then but reeks of banquet hall or hockey rink. What could we call this place? The Center? Meeting Place? Gathering Place? Do you have any ideas? Please share them.



Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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