Tag Archives: dualism

Splitting the Body and Soul

We go to a MD to get our physical bodies repaired, we go to a PsyD for mental health concerns, and we go to a pastor for spirit and soul related matters. In effect, 21st century healing is based upon 3 distinct professions, for which some of the time work together, but for which much of the time ignore one another, or even call one another’s expertise into question. A friend suggests that in doing so, we are splitting the mind, body, spirit, and soul into separate parts, rather than looking at them as a whole.

I think part of the driver for this is that the church walked away from the sciences once science started to call church power structures into question. Consider what happened to Gallileo, and that it took until 1992 for him to be vindicated by Pope John Paul II.

Consider the use of anesthesia and the pain of childbirth 100+ years ago. Genesis 3:16 states To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” thus many Christians held to the view that anesthesia / pain killers should not be used during childbirth, as it does an end run around Genesis.


Consider Ben Franklin’s lightning experiments which brought about the lightning rod, at least for those outside of the churches power structure. 3000 people died and 1/6 of the city of Bresia was destroyed when the Church of San Nazaro was hit by lightning and the explosives located within detonated… all because if a lighting rod worked, it no longer was an act of satan, but an act of electrical charge distribution, and thus doctrine would be forced to change.

Today, non-believers, and many believers  look at such and are incredulous. How could the church be so wrong? Was doctrine really all that important that it led to ignoring the obvious evidence right in front of people?

And yet, there are those who defend the churches view. Consider the philosopher Feyerabend. “The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.”

So how does that square? I’m not a philosopher, but if the church says the square is blue, and with my own eyes I see that it is red… I’m going to have to go with red, irrespective of what the church says. Its really not a matter of faith, obedience, or trust, when clear and convincing observation says otherwise. I don’t see it in any other way than an issue of maintaining power. Ethical and social consequences may play a role, but preserving falsehoods to block the truth has a way of coming back to bite. Its the whole do a little evil that good may come that Paul warns us against in Romans 3.

This is not to say ethical and social consequences should be entirely ignored. I think those tend to be sold short to our peril… but the evidence should be plainly laid out for all too see, even if as Jack Nicholson spoke so plainly, “you can’t handle the truth”

At some point in the future, there likely will be similar folks looking back on the past and seeing the churches overt efforts to clearly break mind, body, spirit and soul apart from one another, all the while medicine/science is making inroads to put them back together.

Will that be a truth the church can handle?

Worship Should Be Exceedingly Boring?

Is worship really just about entertainment / personal fullfillment? Certainly if one follows the style wars, such seems to be the case. Some are entertained, reach emotional highs, or find inner peace via the liturgy and an organ or chants, others find similar benefits via a folk, polka, or even a rock band…

Even the following from 8 reasons the worship industry is killing worship this AM points to the personal entertainment domain.

Just like good art, Christian worship demands our engagement. In a sense, worship should be exceedingly boring in that it doesn’t offer that over-stimulation that the masses crave. But to those who really give themselves in participation, it is more entertaining than the anything media (mainstream or Christian) can offer, because it offers something so radically alternative to fallen mundanity.

So, if we are looking to escape the mundane, change seems to be the answer, as over time, pretty much any form of worship is going to loose its grass is always greener over there appeal at some point. The thing is… worship isn’t just about us… its a lot bigger than that.
Somehow it seems discussions of worship devolve inwards rather than as a means of connecting to God and to the body of Christ as a whole. Certainly its a lot easier to engage in worship style wars, rather than to ponder the connections we share across a whole multitude of Christian churches, even those who are drastically different than us. Likewise, its easier to ponder painting an offshore church somewhere than it is to engage with and enter into fall cleanup tasks for a church or community center with declining and/or greying membership within a 50 mile radius… even more so if they hold to differing beliefs!

Imagine what might happen….

Thanks to http://www.freethoughtproject.com for the image.

Image courtesy of http://www.freethoughtproject.com

And yet, just because worship isn’t only about us, it doesn’t mean we should become gnostics and deny our anthropology. After all, we were created in the image of God… would He really approve of boredom in worship, even if we achieved all the other facets?

Likewise, service to others as a form or worship doesn’t mean we should deny our beliefs. Would God really approve hiding our light, or worse, selectively withholding our gifts to try and manipulate others into believing as we do? The body of Christ is pretty huge, I fully believe it can do this… I think the bigger question is to whether we are willing to go there.