Sunday, April 04, 2010


There was a review in last Sunday's NYT Book Review of Judith Shulevitz's The Sabbath World, an extended reflection on the history and meaning of the Sabbath in Judaism, and by extension Christianity. Shulevitz is quoted: "What others call God, I call ritual . . . God, then, is the ungovernable reality commemorated by ritual."

I can relate to that. As a child I loved the rituals of Holy Week. If anthropology teaches us anything it is that we are ritualistic creatures. We love ceremony. We love the ritual punctuation of our lives. Alas, the rituals of my childhood faith came into unsustainable conflict with the Church's creedal insistence on literalness. It is one thing to love the darkness and light, the smoke and chrism, the purple, black and white vestments, the unknowable "ungovernable reality" that sustains the cosmic Myth of the Eternal Return. It is another thing to profess belief in a personal God who came to Earth as a human, worked miracles, rose from the dead, and ascended bodily into Heaven. For me, that's a step way too far. The rituals are made untenable by that little voice in my head that asks, "But is it true?"

Anne, I think, is not so bothered by that voice. Her notion of reality is more elastic. She takes spiritual sustenance wherever she finds it, as you have probably noticed in her eclectic art. Click to enlarge.