I have often noticed that when educated people take part in meditation classes ( as many are doing during these troubled times) they give a psychological gloss to essentially mystical experience. Without calling it spiritual, they describe moments of transcendence and inner peace and tell me that they can sense an ocean of tranquility beneath the storms raging on the surface. Hypnotic trance? Escapism? Or a glimpse at a greater reality that is wiser than rational thought or the evidence of the outer senses senses?
“Yet the suggested compromise reminded me of an institution in Orthodox Judaism—in Yiddish, the shabbes goy—a Gentile employed by a synagogue to do the jobs not permitted to Jews on the Sabbath…” (Peter Berger)
There is an interesting analogy to the Shabbes goy in the world of chrisendom. For centuries it has been clear that the various Christian sects that control the Church of the Holy Sepulchre detest each other and can hardly share space in the enormous church without coming to blows. In the seventh century, the Muslim Caliph who controlled Jerusalem came up with the perfect compromise; he gave the keys to the holiest Christian church in the world to a Muslim.
Ever since, the Nusseibeh Family has controlled the ceremonial keys to the Church. It’s amazing to contemplate how much bloodshed has been spared as a result of this clever compromise.
It is extraordinary how much anger there is in the Anglican Communion about something as simple as sex. Not being an Anglican myself or even a Christian, I don;t know how much can be found in the gospels about how Jesus felt about sex; but considering what a preoccupation it is for people who consider him to be the deity, I can only assume that it must have been one of the most important topics that he opined upon.
Am I right about that?