Secularism 

The People of Israel sought governance under a cultural sovereign, whom they reasoned would provide leadership, elevating their statehood's dignity. Emerging nations quickly imagine political, military, and cultural equality, when contrasting themselves, against surrounding principalities. Despite God's caution to dissuade people from flirting with these worldly seductions, the Jewish confederation became a powerful entity under David's leadership. 

Sacraments forwarded onto the Kingdom of David, provided the impetus to construct a great temple. A solemn place of worship, like a national cathedral, by which citizenry could take pride. Stones and mortar, were subsequently destroyed and scattered, producing only relics of reminiscence. None-the-less, God's ultimate intervention began with the promise of a messiah.[1]  Messianic narratives, however, emerged into distorted hopes for a political restorer and secular savior. Pride's imagination knows no limits among self-reliant people. Stories grow like the infamous fishing report that begins as a huge catch and develops even larger, like Pinocchio's nose.  God entered the human condition to straighten out the facts of the story.

          Jesus entered the second temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling and                                overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.                            Moreover, he said to them, Scripture writes, ' my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are              making it a robber's den.'" [2] 

 

In October 2020, K Leavitt reporting for the Edmonton Bureau quoted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who also promised to "build back better, once the pandemic subsides. Opposition leader Erin O'Toole scoffed, saying, "there's no plan to reduce the pandemic debt." The experience of COVID-19 will almost certainly reach out to both secularists and spiritualists to co-write a new page in any future Canadian public's response to crises.

 

The King of Persia commissioned Ezra to repatriate the Children of Abraham's enduring Babylonian exile.[3] One of the initial problems Ezra encountered was the sensitive and sacramental question of marriage. Nationalists believed the race had become diluted, through the introduction of multiple new bloodlines.  Consequently, national purity grew obscured, threatening its dissipation into the surrounding culture.[4] Civil and sacramental marriage caused a great dilemma for secular and religious puritans, because it invited public and religious scrutiny into people's bedrooms.  Few secular or religious leaders in modernity would be anxious to venture into a marriage debate, as both sides seem to have agreed to disagree. None-the-less, Pope Francis courageously teased out these controversial issues when he recently said, "homosexuals have a right to be in a family and that civil union laws covering homosexuals are needed."  The Holy Father's remarks came as part of a new documentary on his life, "Francesco," which premiered at the Rome film festival on October 21, 2020. Religious and secularists can rest assured that Pope Francis's statement contravenes neither Sacred Scripture, nor, Church Doctrine. However, taken out of context, the remarks assuredly generate fodder for a hyper-sexed culture.  Zealots, fundamentalists, and biblical literalists pine for the days of religious dominance over secularism.  Sexuality generates the type of excitement tabloid subscribers relish. Still, propagating deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) seems always likely to have taken precedence over national purity.

 

Authentic sacramental praxis involves balancing political, social, and religious leanings. Spiritual participation in the world's secular affairs during a pandemic complicates an already delicate dance in pluralistic societies. People never fully detach themselves from their origins. Regardless, nationalism sometimes promotes an immoral and unreasonable expectation on minorities. Christianity too, never fully divorced its self-understanding from much of the Judaic story. At the same time, Christians assert that Judaism morphed into Christianity. Regardless the trajectory, spiritual and secular identity weave together intimately near the deepest places of the soul.

 

The Christian movement materialized from Judaism with an assignment that made immigrants of the apostles. Although the canonical gospels provided no evidence that Jesus ministered beyond a narrow geographical front, Scriptures do tell of a refugee family fleeing back into Egypt to escape political and religious persecution. The early years of Jesus' family exile likely informed his attitude towards Samaritans and perhaps all migrants.[5]  Jesus depicted Samaritans as people not taking job opportunities away from law-abiding Jews, but rather as models of exemplary relational living. Throughout  the teacher's travels, marginalized cultures exhibited virtues worthy of underscoring the contrast between theirs and Judaic society.  

 

Messages communicated to the first apostles prepared them to teach and baptize to the earth's ends.  Jesus instructed newly ordained missionaries to welcome and even become strangers in foreign territories. Trading nations too rely on openly exchanging materials and ideas for prosperity and richness. Spirituality and culture naturally travel together, and where they settle, multiculturalism takes hold, resembling a super-spreader event.

 

 

[1] See the Gospel of John 2:19. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

[2] See the Gospel of Mathew 21:12-13. Jesus quotes from Jerimiah 7:11. “Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? Nevertheless, I have been watching! Declares the Lord.”

[3] See J. Bright  Professor of Hebrew and the Interpretation of the Old Testament, Union Theological Seminary, Ezra Hebrew Religious Leader

[4] Canadians contend with a similar sentiment across segments of the population. In many instances Canadians identify by who we are not, as apposed to who we are.  

[5] See Mat 2:1, Magi, foreign to Jerusalem, are among the first to visit the newborn Jesus. Jesus aligns from birth with wise foreigners who challenge and are not deceived by Israel’s elite.