Standing out or blending in?

“In the world, but not of the world” means different things to different people.  This is a feature, not a bug.


One comment

  1. Wow, so much to think about. I think there is a step even before we think about vocation.

    The Orthodox Theologian, Alexander Schmemann tackles this problem in his book “For the Life of the World.” He says “There are those among us for whom life…mean religious life. And this religious life is a world in itself, existing apart from the secular world…But there are those also to whom the affirmation “for the life of the World” seems to mean naturally “for the better life of the world.” The spiritual-ists are counterbalanced by the activists…[but] nowhere in the Bible do we find the dichotomies which for us are the self-evident framework of all approaches to religion.” He says all the way through the God intended life to be communion with him, receiving life from God, blessing it and offering it back- a circuit of life. He says “Man has loved the world, but as an end in itself and not as transparent to God…It seems natural for man to expereince the world as opaque, and not shot through with the presence of God…The world is a fallen world because it has fallen away from the awareness that God is all in all.” Being part of the world, being removed from the World, all can become an end in itself and when it does everything “loses all value, because only in God is found the meaning…of everything.”

    It is interesting that you mention St Benedict. Recently I met a young woman who leads a lay Benedictine community (involving both single and married people), living every aspect of life-work, eating, home life etc-with an awareness of the presence of God. Based on the New Testament principle of koinonia- communion. Communion with God, communion with others. Living a corporate life shot through with the presence of God.

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