Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
Several years ago, while undergoing a dark night of the soul, I happened a book called Search for Silence by Elizabeth O’Connor.
O’Connor (d. 1998) wasn’t Catholic, but she was a Christian and part of a Washington, DC-based lay movement that served the poor, was dedicated to prayer, and lived in community.
A bit of 70s woo-woo creeps in—“I’m OK, you’re Ok, for example—but she quotes a range of thinkers: Kierkegaard, Jung, Evelyn Underhill, Meister Eckhart. Her thought is squarely based in Scripture. And she zeroes in on a central conflict of faith that is as relevant today, if not more relevant, than it was in 1972 when the book was published:
“The fact that we assume all the ‘good’ and ‘loving’ people should be in the church is indicative of our understanding of the nature of the church. We have even equated membership in the church with having arrived at a certain state of respectability. We have no room for the maimed and outcast, thieves, adulterers, the wretched and tormented. No wonder we so often have an oppressive organization on our hands ‘full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness’ (Mark 23:27 RSV).”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.