Friday, June 5, 2009

The Union of the Sacred and Secular

Sacred and secular…can they co-exist and where do they meet? As we increase our material wealth and extend ourselves with technology, do we have a tendency to lose our sense of what is sacred in the world?
Some say that sacred, or holy, practices are a product of the past that will be outgrown in modern society, and see sacred associated with religion, whose role in the world is currently changing.
Secular is usually associated with bureaucratization, rationalization, urbanization, industrialization, and seen in terms of historical revolutions.
Most of us live with a tension between the two, as sort of being “in the world, but not of the world.” Is it possible to live in integration of the two, with no separation between the sacred and the secular?
American Sociologist C. Wright Mills summarized this process: “Once the world was filled with the sacred – in thought, practice, and institutional form. After the Reformation and the Renaissance, the forces of modernization swept across the globe and secularization, a corollary historical process, loosened the dominance of the sacred. In due course, the sacred shall disappear altogether except, possibly, in the private realm.”

In the bible, Paul writes, “To the pure, all things are pure” (Titus 1:15) Finding the sacred in the secular might just be the way to go. But it is not easy to do as we watch the evening news.

What do YOU think?
Artwork Playing With Possibilities by Ron Isom