While running my usual mid-week round robin of errands something occurred to me. I am now convinced that the Roman Catholic Church has bequeathed a legacy upon our culture that has, until now, gone unnoticed. I mean a legacy other than the obvious theological fabrications. Having been born and raised RC, spent time in a cloistered Benedictine monastery and served time in a seminary, I think I can speak with some authority. They may not be directly behind this development but their history backs up my supposition: the monasticizing of America.
Depending on the order and the 'mission' of the monastery, each individual is on his own to serve God in his unique way or 'calling'. As a group they pray, work, and eat together but are still pretty much encapsulated within their own singular spiritual solitude. And, generally speaking, so are we. It's merely a question of focus, motivation, and priority.
Look around at our daily lives. Today you can do your banking online or in the drive-thru. Other types of drive-thrus will present you with a variety of foods or you can phone in or click to order the aforementioned feast and get it brought to you. You can fill your tank at the pay-at-the-pump gas station, you can shop for almost anything online and get it delivered, you can check yourself out at the grocery store. Today I got a message from the post office telling me I can now get stamps delivered to my mailbox by filling out the attached form. In other words, I can get almost all of my needs met without the inconvenience of dealing with another human being. I no longer have to be bothered with meaningful communication or remembering to use good manners and common courtesy. I can pack those away in my ambivalence closet. Isn't automation miraculous?
Now that I am relieved of having to interact with others of my species I am free to pursue a religion far older than Christianity, Judaism, or even Buddhism. It's a religion that millions of fervent devotees pursue each and every day and perhaps twice on Sundays. The all-embracing Church of Self. It worships one deity--ME--and has a holy trinity of its' own: ME, MYSELF, and I. The Universe revolves around ME. The church is Self-Centered and Self-Contained. It is everywhere and anything I want it to be. It doesn't require a congregation because no one else matters except ME. It's all about ME. In ME I trust.
As much as I like the pleasure of my own company, I'm afraid that where the Church of Self is concerned I have to declare my agnosticism. The computer keyboard is not my altar so there will be no pointing and clicking my way out of human interaction. I want to see (and personally thank) the person handling my money and my food. I will certainly utilize some of the blessings of the Technologod but not to the exclusion of sentient experience. The interior of the car--though lovely-- isn't all that conducive to a fulfilling dining experience. No room for a buffet, the flower vase tips over when I make a turn, and the AC blows the candle out.
Having been born and raised Roman Catholic, done the monastery and seminary thing, I am cured of chronic religionitis. I am now guilt-free to explore my own innate spirituality and to be a congregant in the Church of Life which has many novices worshiping together at the altar of WE, US, and OUR.