Monday, December 19, 2011

misappropriation and superficiality...


Readers of this space know that I love Ralph Waldo and the Transcendentalists. This, however, is a love that is not blind. The fascinating Orestes Brownson (as discussed by Arthur Verslouis in his "American Transcendentalists and Asian Religions" gets to the heart-or at least one of the hearts-of areas where RWE and the gang give me pause. Brownson, of course, carved his way through the liberal Protestant landscape before embracing authority and the Roman Catholic Church...

"In brief (writes Verslouis) Brownson's criticism is that Transcendentalism takes rhetorically for itself the highest stations attainable within the various traditions and offers no effective means for realizing those stations. And in this respect Brownson's critique is indeed valuable, as each of the traditions on which Emersonian Transcendentalism draws depends on following a particular path. So if one were to choose among its teachings without having followed that path, one could certainly be accused of doing the given tradition an injustice. Much better, says Brownson, to enter into one of those paths-in particular, that of the church-and to follow it. One at least avoids the sin of misappropriation and superficiality."

Blessings

3 comments:

Bill Baar said...

Much better, says Brownson, to enter into one of those paths-in particular, that of the church-and to follow it. One at least avoids the sin of misappropriation and superficiality

Exactly

I find it so odd to see the neo-Marxism coming out of UU Ministers, who miss the key Marxist notion that one can't be much of a Marxist without accepting the discipline of a Party. Even if the discipline as minor as the payment of one's Party Dues. A Socialist w/o a party is no Socialist.

Oddly, the issue of authority and discipline and duty and obligation the notions where the BU's have much to teach, yet it seems to me way too many of us have opted for the the sin of misappropriation and superficiality by joining without the obligations.

Better we reflect harder on our own heritage.

David G. Markham said...

I agree with BU and BB that rhetoric without practice doesn't amount to much.

So what is the discipline, duty, obligation of UUs in this modern day and age?

We are a covenantal faith and in saying that we convenant with each other and our 7 principles leaves me wondering about the discipline, the obligation, the duty to one another.

I am curious if anyone can say more?

Tracie Holladay said...

@ David and Bill: I have to say that in my own experience, words such as "discipline" and "duty" and especially "obligation" are words that most UUs don't want to hear, ever.

Sad but I promise it is true. I've even gotten into arguments about whether such concepts are spiritually worthwhile.

Tracie the Red