I recently read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, to begin my yoga teacher training. Viktor recounts his experience in the concentration camps reflecting on why some of his friends died and some had the ability to survive the experience. For today, I am reflecting on 2 things that stood out to me. First, Frankl says that we need to stop asking about the meaning of life and think of life as questioning us daily/hourly. We find meaning in life by finding the answers to the problems which life sets before us. We each have different questions offered to us but we can only hear the question if we are present and cultivate awareness. Too often, we dwell on past experience or cling to the past trying to recreate something that once was meaningful for us or we are looking ahead to escape to some promised time in the future.
So I wonder: What are the questions being asked of the church today? If we practice being present to this moment instead of clinging to the past, then what is life asking of us?
I can think of a few.
1-Some of us are over the whole heaven and hell thing believing that we create heaven or hell around us every single day, but if we don’t have the threat of hell or the promise of heaven, then why follow Jesus? Or more pointedly….What are we being saved from?
2-What does being the church, the body of Christ, mean today? How does that inform our gatherings (Sundays)? What do we need to let go of to fully live into being the Body of Christ?
3-Why do we need to believe we “own” the truth?
4-How can we become a people who are more open handed/open hearted? What practices do we need to rethink so that our minds are open, hearts are open and body engaged?
5-How can we work with other Christian denominations as well as other religions for the common good?
Second, Frankl points out that everything can be taken away from a us except the ability to choose our attitude about the situation. We get to choose our own way of seeing a situation. I believe the church could be a place where people learn how to see through a hopeful lens and discover joy in simple pleasures no matter their current suffering or experience of life. In the past, we provided the hope that one day they will get to escape their suffering by going to heaven (future thinking). How does that help them right now make sense of this present moment? What if instead of insisting that Christians get a magic pill to relieve suffering, we teach that Christians embrace the suffering as part of the question that life is asking them. Opening our hearts and minds to the idea that whatever suffering we are experiencing is not some kind of punishment but instead is our unique task.
What are some questions that you think the church must answer today?