Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guarding Sacred Spaces

What are the sacred spaces of our time? At one time it was only God's Tabernacle or His Temple in Jerusalem that were considered holy. God used to rage against the Israelite people for going to other sacred spaces. Back then, people saw every high place or wooded grove as a potential sacred space to whatever god it might be dedicated. God drew his people to worship him in appropriate places and in appropriate ways. Eventually churches and cathedrals became the sacred spaces of choice. Oh there was still the occasional holy moment celebrated on a mountain-top; but everyone knew that the only real place to meet God was in a church building. So people built churches and they proliferated throughout our cities. Municipal planners left room for them in their community designs and people attended them. Today it is a rare thing to see the construction of a new church building.

Today, it seems there are no sacred spaces left. All have become secular and stripped of spiritual meaning. Even places that were once dedicated to God have become community halls or condos with only a facade left to give an impression of past glory. We have declared that nothing is holy. Annie Dillard says, "We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it." [1]

We wonder why we feel so scattered. We wonder if we will ever again feel together and holistic. Our spaces are a constant barrage of email, internet, social networking, twitter, mobile phones, satellite radios, iPods, and every other imaginable distraction. Nothing is sacred.

"Despite the incredible power and potential of sacred spaces, they are quickly becoming extinct. We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences." Scott Belsky[2]

It is time for a revolution. It is time to take back some sacred space. It is time that we drew a circle around some spaces and declared them holy. Standing within these circles we will stare technology in the eye and, like Gandalf facing a Balrog, declare, "Go back to the shadow. You cannot pass!"

Without sacred spaces we shall surely perish. Without places of imagination free from interruption our culture will wither on the vine. We must be proactive in creating sacred spaces for ourselves. When we find ourselves in places of disconnection we must guard them jealously and use them wisely. Unplug, disconnect, worship, let creativity flow, and seize the space.


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