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“. . .there is a reality beyond the reality of everyday life,. . .” I would say that this reality is within everyday life, if we are open to it. Read “Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics,” by R,H. Blyth or his translations of Haiku to get a sense how poets and writers have described the revelations of the “inner senses” of nature and the human condition.
The phenomenon of American religious tolerance, however, does not appear to transfer to political issues where churches are still dividing over ordination of gay priests and other social issues much as sociologist Jeffrey K. Hadden wrote about in the 1960’s in his book The Gathering Storm in the Churches. And curiously there are no such prayer breakfasts or other religious attempts to reconcile this divide. So religious tolerance but political intolerance seems to be the cultural rule. Sociologist Emile Durkheim’s observation about social stratification by occupation groupings (e.g., Knowledge Class vs. Business Class) may be part of it.
I am very happy to have found your blog. I was a student of yours (2002-2003) in the class you taught with Dr. Wolfteich. The conversations we shared back then still inform how I think, teach and preach. As pastor of a rural church, my work is saturated with popular piety, and I thank you for giving it some intellectual affirmation. Religious tolerance is alive and well where I live, too: one of our key (Methodist) church leaders is also a master TM instructor, another maintains her Greek Orthodox membership, yet another regular attendee is Jewish. What keeps us bound together is what Rudolph Otto described: the yearning for encounters with the numinous. THAT is a stronger bond than any doctrine or set of historically conditioned dogmas.
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What a fine blog entry: no rhapsodizing over the oneness of spirituality, fully acknowledging the dizzying variety of interpretations even within a single sect, yet affirming the transcendent reality of faith as such. Thank you Professor Berger.