MCSq2 talks with Laurel E. Loch, Episcopal ministry and pastoral support, St. George Episcopal http://www.stgeorgesepiscopal.net/
Q: How and/or where do religion and spirituality meet?
I think of religion as being the organized, communal portion and spirituality as an essence that’s specific and personal to an individual. The spark is kindled during personal, private practices of prayer, and contemplation. In corporate worship and sacraments, the spark is coaxed into a gentle flame. The spark couldn’t continue without the flame. The flame couldn’t exist without the spark.
Q: Has working with ministers made you appreciate religion, or is it more an Oz-behind-the-curtain thing?
When I was interviewing for my current position, the Rector who also is my boss asked me “Are you ready to see how the sausage is made?” I’ve come to understand that ministers are simply people. I think it’s this humanity that marks and links all of us as God’s creation.
Q: Why do some religious rites ask their worshipers to kneel, some to stand, and some to dance [ie, the Sufi dervishes]?
Historically speaking, Christian worship services were longer than many are today. While the different postures like kneeling, standing, bowing have specific symbolic meaning, they are also practical. People need to move around or else they’ll fall asleep! Also, it helps individuals participate in the act of worship, instead of just being a passive bystander. Dancing is part of many faith traditions. To me, it’s an expression of the soul’s deepest joy, longing, and grief. Have you ever watched a dance floor? It usually starts with just one or two people. Eventually their individual dances find each other and suddenly they are dancing together. Then there’s this moment when inhibitions crack open and everyone on the sidelines joins in. There’s no longer a single person, there’s a group, twisting, turning, and making sense of the rhythm together. I don’t think it gets any more religious than that. And maybe that’s why these ancient rites ask us to move our bodies, so we can move ever so closer to God.
Q: Is chance the same thing as coincidence? Is coincidence another name for the divine?
I think the Holy Spirit speaks and it’s on me to listen. She’s creative. She’s got a helluva sense of humor. A bit snarky. And she’s absolutely brimming with compassion, the divine aspect of chance and/or coincidence.
Q: If the devil is in the details, where is God?
God is the spaces in between. God is the prepositions – in, above, next to, around. God is the cosmic swirl in space, the salt in the dish, and the single struck match illuminating the dark.
Q: Have you ever heard of Dark Factory?
I’ve heard it’s a place with its own heartbeat, keeping time to the music.