Practical Spirituality – eltist thought for the day

I once met an Imam who had the challenging duty of providing spiritual guidance for dozens of Muslim men after they were finally released from years of detention (courtesy of the evil Howard Government). Being a down to earth and realistic chap he knew that after years of male-only confinement many of his charges would be off to the local knocking-shop as soon as possible. He also knew that afterwards, many of them would regret their actions and feel great guilt, shame and other misery not really required after years of torture, flight and being locked up. The poor fellows had enough to deal with, he reckoned. So, he gave them all pre-composed marriage licences. The men would enter their name, the prostitute would enter hers and after the sex the man would repeat the classic “I divorce you” three times. Hey presto! No guilt, no shame as all the sex was within wedlock. Practical. Earthy. And it helped people. Can we knock it?

I had dinner once with a lovely Catholic priest who years back ministered to indigenous folk in South America. Try as he may over several years, he was not able to gain the respect or ears of the local people. Until he pretended to get married and lived with a woman. Then they slowly accepted him, as they didn’t want to listen to someone whose life was so far removed from their own. Once respected he was able to set up some aid and health programs. Neat solution. Practical, and again people were helped. Can we criticise this one?

I know a nun who once smuggled condoms into Ireland. And others who lie blatantly to their Bishop and fib to their parishioners about Catholic theology so they can supply condoms in areas of Africa hit hard by HIV-AIDS. A bit naughty, stretching the Catholic truth, but down-to-earth, practical and undoubtedly lives are saved and misery averted.

Gautama Buddha clearly taught different truths or versions of Dharma to students at different levels of capacity. Christ also taught in parables to some and directly to a few, each according to their need. Tibetan Buddhism makes it clear this is an act of compassion, citing the example of the teaching of Sunyata, or emptiness. To teach this profound insight, that none of us actually exist, to those unprepared for it can really freak people out and distress them a great deal. Don’t try this at home!

So I guess, there is a place for the new-age Priestesses who work on the emotional levels alone while convinced they are reincarnations of Sumerian powerhouses. And for magicians who think the Golden Dawn is nothing more than a badly produced paperback from a cheap and nasty publisher. And for Wicca/Paganism which serves the religious needs of many people who can’t seem to think. Or read. Really, the Wiccan theologies and magic are practical, and they get the job done – Witches in the circle and off the streets, happily convinced they are practicing a mystery tradition and the Summer Lands await them before a super-duper rebirth with their current hand-fasted mate.

Normal blogging service will be resumed as soon as I finish cleaning up the latest mess from incompetent witches/magicians that has come our way.


One comment

  1. Dean Wilson · September 24, 2009

    Good post. And good to see you posting again 🙂


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