Monday, April 19, 2021

empty forms

Our concern ought, therefore, to be less about technique and more about content. Judaism is not merely a matter of external forms—it is also a matter of inner living. Is Judaism still aware of inner living? We have a synagogue, certainly, but we have very little prayer. There are important institutions but no crucial commitments, many facts but no appreciation; indeed, the impulse to popularize has drained Judaism of a sense of the complexity, the subtlety, the reality of its teachings and mitzvot. What remains is a lifeless devotion to external actions, to a pattern of religious behaviorism that rests on a conviction of the utter irrelevance of theology and belief.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 149

<idle musing>
Substitute Christianity for Judaism, and church building for synagogue, and it describes contemporary U.S. Christianity all too well...
</idle musing>

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