Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We need something longer and more nonsensical than Sunday church: Rohr on liminality

(photo credit: Feris's blog)

Often the question I wrestle with here on this blog/block is,
"What is God saying to us here about the role of the pastor in the current culture?"

(click the "role of the pastor" label at bottom of page to see all posts on that topic)

I often half-joke about new "titles" for "pastor" that help us refocus the role; and half-joke about including that on my next business card.

Reading Rohr allows me to still be a party planner (whew!),
but add on "liminal planner/liminoid exorcist"... jk (:


"Nothing fresh or creative will normally happen when we are inside our self-constructed comfort zones, only more of the same. Nothing original emerges from business as usual. It seems we need some antistructure to give direction, depth, and purpose to our regular structure. Otherwise structure, which is needed in the first half of life, tends to become a prison as we grow older.

Much of the work of the biblical God and human destiny itself is to get people into liminal is the only teachable space. So much so that spiritual giants try to live their entire lives in permanent liminality. They try to live on the margins and periphery of the system... It can take the form of monks... [or those who]deliberately place themselves in risky situations, which is to displace yourself.

For most of us...once a week church services do not normally come close to creating liminal space....There has to be something longer, different, daring, even nonsensical..

..The bubble of usual order has to be broken by a bit of whimsy, holy uselessness, deliberate disruption or displacement, learning how to walk in the opposite direction..Forty days is probably a minimum period to spend in liminal space..

The most common substitute for liminal space is "liminoid space,"...Nothing new happens here, only a continuation of the old..Victor Tuner calls this ceremony, as opposed to ritual...We love ceremony, the limimoid, because it asks so little of us other than to show up...

.,,This is why...Jesus mistrusted acts of mortification, dietary laws, or any religion of heroics. They are usually liminoid instead of liminal. The Christian liturgical season of Lent is ideally forty days of practice at some form of liminality..They are structured liminal space..As the Jewish tradition brilliantly intuited: if at least one-seventh of life is not consciousness, presence and naked human BEing, the other six days will be caught up as human DOings that have little depth, meaning or final effect. If at least one -seventh of life is somehow Sabbath and sabbatical, the rest will take care of itself. Without daily, weekly and yearly choices for liminal space, our whole lives eventually become liminoid and we end up just doing time."
-Richard Rohr, excerpts from Chapter 12 ('All Transformation Takes Place in Liminal Spoace" ) of "Adam's Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation."

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