Friday, January 27

That horizontal element

Who controls the vertical? The horizontal?
I have mentioned previously, but I believe that there are two axes which direct most any faith system.  The first is the 'vertical', which is the relationship with the Divine (which I term the 'spiritual').  The second is the 'horizontal', which is the relationship we have with one another (the 'religious').  These two dimensions are summed up in the twin commandments to love God and to love one another.

As you all know, I do a lot of thinking, reflecting, praying and such. The  majority of it revolves around the 'vertical' element, however, with an attempt to understand (in what limited way I can) the Divine and my relationship with Her. 

My thinking about the horizontal element has been focused on my portion of that equation, but I realise that I am not alone in the horizontal any more than I am the sole actor in the vertical.  This is at least part of why I feel drawn towards pastoral ministry over being a theologian or going into a hermetic order.  It is in connecting with others, being actively engaged in the horizontal, that I see my talents being used, my heart the lightest and myself being the least comfortable.  You read that right.  This is where things get dicey.

Being in relationship with anyone is knowing where they are and meeting them as closely to that point as your moral dictates permit.  For most people and settings, this isn't such a hard thing for me.  Where it gets very interesting (in that chinese sort of way) is when you are perceived as an authority figure or somehow are a representative for the church.  At that juncture, you are no longer your own man, so to speak.  There is a question in my mind about authenticity and the interplay of being sensitive/responsive to those who are in your social group while at the same time being true to your understanding of the religious and the spiritual.

Honestly, I would really appreciate some external viewpoints on this, so your thoughts and opinions about this would be even more appreciated than usual.

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