Thursday, September 13, 2007

church, beach

The day I visited the temple to Apollo on the island of Delos, Peleg went to the beach on Mykonos. This is actually a common arrangement for us as in Los Angeles I go to church on Sundays and Peleg goes to the beach whenever the weather permits.

I understand the appeal of the beach, although the one in Los Angeles is not particularly attractive to me, the water is too cold and the surf too rough. But I do reject the idea some folks tell me that their time in nature is "church" for them. Hiking in the woods, or sitting on the beach, are good ways to spend a day, and may even activate the spirit, but they aren't a substitute for the kind of experience that one can have in a worshipping religious community.

Church is not just about relaxation and inspiration. It's also about challenge, and instruction, and it's also in large part about other human beings. Solitary pursuits in nature provide a retreat from human community, which we all need from time to time, but religious comunitities provide the necessary opportunity to practice living in human community, which is also a necessary skill.

Actually, I didn't really go to church that day either. I spent the day walking around the ruins.

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