The Sacred and The Secular, Renewed Sensibilities

I’ve updated my about page with a gravatar profile? I think? WordPress links to things and I just fill them out and sign up not really knowing what I’m getting myself into.  That, however is totally beside the point.  I’ve explained my self with these words: Simply living in the space I’ve been given, using my sensibilities to grapple with the secular and the sacred and how they intertwine.  At almost 50 I find myself re-evaluating many things; life, love, family, religion, vocation, nutrition, education,everything that life encompasses while living in a 1st world country.  It’s a luxury really and one I try not to take for granted.

My tagline, the definition of sensibilities goes like this: the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences; sensitivity. The ability to respond. I may not always respond rationally, or logically or even coherently but you can be sure I will respond hopefully with sensitivity. I will probably contradict myself, I will probably offend some people, but I am going to put myself out there (eventually haha, I’ll try not to wait till I have it all figured out to promote my thoughts cause we know that will never happen).

Secular: denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

Sacred: connected with God  or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

And never the two shall meet.  Or do they?  I like to read and recently the relation of the sacred  and the secular has come up in two different places. The first is a book that I am loving titled “The Supper of the Lamb, A Culinary Reflection” by Robert Farrar Capon, an Episcopal priest. He exhorts throughout to enjoy all things secular with a sacred delight. In his chapter on wine, before actually talking about wine, he says this:

“So with all things. Creation is God’s living room, the place where He sits down and relishes the exquisite taste of His decoration. Things, therefore, as things, are inseparable from God, as God. Separate the secular from the sacred, and the world becomes an idol shrouded in interpretations; creation becomes too meaningful to make love to .  As religion devoured life for the pagan, so significance consumes the world of the secularist. …Without a Giver, they never become themselves”

Then he exorcises the demons with this prayer:

“…Deliver us, O Lord, from religiosity and Godlessness alike, lest we wander in fakery or die of boredom.  Restore to us Thyself as Giver and the secular as Thy gift.  Let idols perish and con jobs cease. Give repentance and better minds to all pagans and secularists; in the meantime, of Thy mercy, keep them out of our cellars.”

I love his humor! This dear man died a year ago and I found this remembrance of him which also praises his sensibilities:

“I was weak in the knees for a way of worshiping that did not pit the “things of earth” against the “glory and grace” of Christ, but was capable of seeing them—the humblest of elements—charged with such glory. This is what makes The Supper of the Lamb remarkable both as a work of theology and as a cookbook: “The world is no disposable ladder to heaven. Earth is not convenient; it is good; it is, by God’s design, our lawful love,” Capon wrote. For Capon, discussing the physics involved in the preparation of a perfectly smooth gravy—down to the details of what sort of whisk does the job best—was of a piece with celebrating the goodness of God who created it all for delight, who means to lift all the good things of this world to grace, to that

unimaginable Session
In which the Lion lifts
Himself Lamb Slain
And, Priest and Victim
The City

 In another book, more clearly religious  titled “Made for More, An Invitation to Live in God’s Image” Hannah Anderson helps us see our womanhood as more than the roles we play and more as image bearers with possibilities beyond what we imagine in which the secular and the sacred do mix.

“And yet scripture does not differentiate between sacred wisdom and secular knowledge….Because of this, imago dei knowledge is by necessity more than a dry, crusty intellectualism; it is more than a “worldview.” At its root, imago dei  knowledge is the capacity to wonder-to look for God’s fingerprints everywhere and then to stand in awe when you finally see Him.  Imago dei knowledge means searching for Him with childlike curiosity, wide-eyed and eager to discover who He is and the world He has made.”

So it seems in life that all things secular, be it knowledge, food, wisdom or wine, are truly connected to God and therefore sacred when we recognize God as the creator and giver of these gifts.


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