Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Travel without rules. Like religion without a Benedict. Sant Pere Pescador. Did we all lose with Benedict

Where does Travel, Unscripted, Lead?  
To areas of thought not earlier examined.
Do we dare.  

 A Theology Match.

From travel and exposure to all those wars of religion in Europe, 
ask which is more "Christian."
History says: Benedict and his Rules, because Rome's version won.
What do Offbeat-Travelers say?

Meet a Catalan alternative.
Sant Pere Pescador, in Catalan, Saint Peter the Fisherman.
Not Peter as buried under icing at the Vatican.

This has come slowly, as a surprising and unintended personal conclusion to one who is not a Sunday Regular, an issue not considered at the outset. It is the issue of Rules in Religion, when it seeks institutional power rather than faithfulness to a Founder, and the role of Rules in shaping Western ferocity in putting down religious dissent. This echoes in politics, with parties wielding exclusionary Rules, in hopes of centralizing power and influence.  Must religion do the same.  It has. What on earth are we doing with all our rules. Who so ordained? On what authority? Is the origin of Western Violence rooted in early Mithraism, Roman, ideas of vengeance, hierarchy.
Is this so, after seeing years of travel where issues related to religious determinism have ruled by power, not merit in closeness to meanings of texts. Would we have been better off as Western Civilization, if Benedict, embodying Rome's Regimentation and need for Rules, and hierarchy, had not taken root in the evolving "Christianity." What if is a useful inquiry, in focusing on alternatives that might still be available.

  • What if the concepts of Pere Pescador, Peter the Fisherman, not Peter as hailed in glory at the Vatican (what??)  had prevailed, instead of Paul the Romanist, against all the political and military odds of the Time.  Would we all be more at Peace? Including with Islam? Are we so dyed in the wool that we cannot see how we got here.
  •  What if Paul, originally from Tarsus, a seat of Mithraism, that in itself influenced Rome, rejected Mithraic practices and stayed with those of Jesus. See Sociology of Masculinity in the Middle East, by Dr. Hossein Adiby, 2006 paper, at 4ff, Mithraic influences on major religions. "Mithra, a male god, was worshiped only by men at Mithraic shrines." Social structure of patriarchy, man owning his family, etc. Search for "Mithra" and "Mithraism."

Travel is like, would you believe, life.  The approach a person taken to either, I think, reveals how far that person will value autonomy, independent thought.  Or is authority absorbed as gospel. Follow the guide with the bouncing flag.

With all the opposition to autonomy through the centuries, is autonomy worth it. Institutions oppose autonomy. They all fight it like Crusades, whether corporate or evangelical or union or whoever.

And they win in direct confrontation, of course.  Here, the Papal complex at Avignon, where armies in the name of God were raised against dissenters, Cathars.

In response to that opposition, for those of us who cannot survive well without autonomy, must we nonetheless support someone's "institution." Even travel institutions. The opposition to our kind of travel is fear.  Must we fear other people, other cultures, others in control including religious, so that we have to travel in little gangs with flags leading the way to what we may, or may not, see..

WWF Theology Match.

After fourteen years of unscripted travel in Europe, the Car-Dan Tour Company, we raise our own flag again for human individual contact in cultures, no tours, rent a car and go. What will you find.

We began as an enrichment course for a Down Syndrome son, Dan Widing, who had met the age limits for education through the system.

We are an ersatz family event consisting of a supportive Dad, not a tour company at all, and the Dad stays home because he does prefer an agenda.  So Dan and Mom head out, an aging but spunky lady with an amazing Down Syndrome adult son with enormous human and intellectual capabilities that we barely scratch, Mom who likes not knowing and heading out. Dan has caught the bug.  Our theme song:  I wonder where the Car-Dan is sleeping tonight?  And much laughter. Which way next?  Cross arms and point in opposite directions, more laughs, and pick one, and go.

Ask, as to the option of road trips instead of tours.  Can a reasonably  intelligent person engage in travel without rules imposed by some outside "guide." Is it safe, what is gained, or lost. What is the on-balance result. Can there be religion without a Benedict's rules.  Yes.  Can there be travel without a company's rules. Sure.

Then, can a reasonably intelligent person engage in life without rules imposed by some outside "guide" even when someone else's interest is not at stake.

 Is it safe.  What in this kind of randomness is gained, or lost. What is the on-balance result. When to trust a "guide."  Who tells you something is as important, as more important to an individual, than what is said and whether it is believed.

San Pere Pescador.  I am of a Christian Protestant tradition, and find the idea of a simple fisherman embodying the essence of Western Christianity on point.  Not the riches and accumulations and force through Crusades, that Peter in Rome, at St. Peter's, the fake tribute to one whose ideas were fast abandoned in favor of Avignon's riches, embody.

Sant Pere Pescador.  That "resonates" in the terms of the introspector-groupies.  Pere Pescador.  Find us. We need you.

I am an unscripted, but heritage, Christian, so leave now if you like.  The theme here is a religious one:  spurred on because it is impossible to travel freely in Europe without finding at nearly every turn, the effects of forced rigidity in Western religion.  Largely, this took the form of Rome and Paul's spin against all other interpretations, forcing conversions, dogma. Hundred years' war. Thirty years' war. Rome and the regulatory monastic houses against meeker Irish theology This is now a firmer interest after 14 years of unscripted travel:  and at the root, after the Roman Empire, find the influence of Benedict,  Sixth Century, Roman Empire fallen, Europe decentralized, peoples migrating all over, lawlessness for lack of processes.  There was also faithfulness: the Celtic, individualized Christianity, the contemplative, the seekers, Christian forms in the Middle East.  Not for long, says the Rules Man -- who does bring protection of walls and more productive agricultural systems to the monastic territories.  He also fosters a malignancy and intolerance of others, that taints us yet.

Vestiges of lost alternatives do remain:  Compare to truths of The Losers --  as the figure of Sant Pere Pescador, Saint Peter the Fisherman in Catalan. Heart, seeker, contemporary.  He was there.