Wednesday, October 20, 2010

D.H. Lawrence and the Church

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down,
and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiates 3:1-8

CONTEXT, a commentary on religion and culture, will soon cease publication. The journal has been written by Martin Marty for many years, and more recently edited with help from his son, Micah. Like so many other journals and periodicals, they have been overwhelmed by rising costs and shrinking readership as more and more of us get our information from the internet. And, yes, it IS ironic that I am writing about this in a blog.

As a parting gift to readers, the Martys are publishing excerpts from the past forty years. On March 15, 1981, they included an extended quotation from D.H. Lawrence, about the church, excerpted from “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.”

So, with thanks to Martin Marty, today’s blog is written by D.H. Lawrence. And in deference to Marty’s manner of presentation, it is offered without comment:

The old Church knew that life is here our portion, to be lived, to be lived in fulfillment. . . The rhythm of life itself was preserved by the Church, hour by hour, day by day, season by season, year by bear, epoch by epoch, down among the people, and the wild coruscations were accommodated to this permanent rhythm.

This is the wheeling of the year, the movement of the sun, through solstice and equinox, the coming of the seasons, the going of the seasons. And it is the inward rhythm of man and women, too, the sadness of Lent, the delight of Easter, the wonder of Pentecost, the fires of St. John, the candles on the graves of All Souls', the lit-up tree of Christmas, all representing kindled rhythmic emotions in the souls of men and women...

Oh, what a catastrophe for man when he cut himself off from the rhythm of the year, from his union with the sun and the earth. Oh, what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and the equinox!

This is what is the matter with us. We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table...

For centuries the mass of people lived in this rhythm under the church.... Now you have a poor, blind, disconnected people with nothing but politics and bank holidays to satisfy the eternal human need of living in ritual adjustment to the cosmos...

Man has little needs and deeper needs. We have fallen into the mistake of living from our little needs till we have almost lost our deeper needs in a sort of madness.

No comments:

Post a Comment