Wednesday, September 24, 2014

higher and greater than

Gentle breeze out here on the downstairs front porch, 67F and 90%, my kind of early fall Florida Gulf Coast morning. And there’s that green channel light winking at me from across the Bay. The weather page reports Wind 0 mph but the weather man isn’t sitting here on my porch with me. It would be nice if this fall weather holds on.

What I’m thinking about yet one more time again though, doubtless like everyone else I know, including my noble readers this morning, is Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). A clergyman, son and grandson of clergymen, prominent German bible scholar and theologian, his name was Friedrich Daniel Ernst but I don’t know what his mama called him. My mama called me Bubba and I am one, but F.D.E. was no Bubba. Always trying to salvage something that made sense in religion, in 1799 he published On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers trying to reconcile the Enlightenment with Protestant Christianity, some of which we read in seminary. He’s not the best known German theologian but he might be my favorite. 

Two things about Schleiermacher that I remember and appreciate are his scoff (my term, certainly not a fair word for him) that some elements of Christian orthodoxy specifically found in the creed of the Nicene fathers are beyond human knowing; and his assertion that in each of us is planted a sense of the infinite.

Why are we religious? The nearer I get to the flashing green light the more the question pops up. I swear off ordering books, SHMG, but yesterday arrived a penny plus postage book from Amazon, The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures, by Nicholas Wade and I started reading it last night. For a bookmark in it I’m using a clipping Linda cut for me from yesterday’s NYT, “Growing Majority in U.S. See Religion Losing Sway.” 

We need higher and greater than self, or at least, looking out at the flashing green light and on off beyond the stars this predawn, I do.  


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