13 September 2011

Texture of enchantment

The Bible constructs a style of social organization that is neither of the government sector nor of the market sector: the Bible constructs a priesthood and a sanctuary as well as a weekly, seasonal, sabbatical year and jubilee Sabbath. 
The point of this non-governmental and non-commercial sacred space is to help cultivate civil society, to create a public space where covenantal bonds and mutual aid dominate the experience of the populace. This sacred space is where personal autonomy and the liberation from servitude are most directly achieved. 
Such a civil society has about it the texture of enchantment and a measure of grace. It is smooth and fluid and sensuous, where the barriers between people are lowered and a union between people is operating. 
The seasonal Sabbaths, the festivals, couple most directly to the sanctuary. The sanctuary is where the most obvious congregation of the civil society is manifest. The weekly Sabbath is more about the individual and his/her family and household; the sabbatical year is about the political/economy; the jubilee is about the deep matter of self-ownership, autonomy and the self-definition of the people's ethnic character and its relation to the people's land. 
Religious institutions in the Bible's version have a political/economic character to them. The institutions are not only of the priesthood, they are of the sanctuary coupled to the basic institutions of society: the military, the economy, and the political relations of power which connect the upper and lower classes. By filling out and making for a healthy and independent civil society, the biblical system assures the cultivation of a robustness and a resiliency in the society that can survive the collapse of governments or the unravelling of national institutions. 

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