Sacred Places: A Natural Temple

The most sacred of places cannot be built. In human folly, we feel we can make sanctuaries. Often they are built right beside pre-existing ones. The truly sacred place has been built by the forces of nature other than man.

When a human makes a place of sacridity they also make defiance and ignorance of what is sacred. It’s not that their place is unjustified, it’s that this place is displacing the the place that was there already. It’s not a plea, but I wonder if churches could be made of uncut trees, or unbroken rock. In that nature, their nature would abide to true sacred things; rather than what we construct to be sacred.

I feel this is an a priori truth.

See: Humanistic Scientist for more information about my belief system.

22 Comments

  1. It reminds me of the time-share on a beautiful beach. Selling solitude while destroying it at the same moment. Building a sanctuary and simultaneously destroying sanctity is contradicting, not to mention the sanctity of other life you are displacing in the process. Great points Tom. Our incessant need to display what we believe impacts our natural world in a negative way. Sacred places that build a barrier between it and nature cannot imo, be truly spiritual.

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    1. Great comment Jim. Thanks. I agree with your opinion and love your wording. To build an enclosure and call it a sanctuary is ironic. It’s not an obvious irony, as it seems intuitive a sanctuary is set apart from things specifically. Sanctuary is not a building, it’s a feeling.

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      1. My daughter and I have a sanctuary up on the mountain a few hundred yards behind the house. It’s a camp really. To her it is a chance to explore nature and live amongst the wildlife, but for me—beautifully quiet. It’s a very simple and respectful place to get away for a few moments.

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        1. See, that’s sanctuary. And regardless of whether your youngster is frolicking or foraging she will come to know that place as a sanctuary. From your recent post about your daughter doing climbing I assume she’s on a good line for a wise summit.

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  2. I don’t necessarily agree but I think I understand. I spent childhood summers on an island in Georgian Bay. Often while sitting in Church in adult years I asked myself… “now what do you like better, the spiritual elevation and community of the Holy Spirit during night Mass or taking a dip in Georgian Bay and scampering barefoot across the Precambrian rocks?” To complicate matters, of course, the Holy Spirit can be felt in nature. But I think the Church serves some function too. For some. Not for all. For me, Church is like a powerhouse. When needed, I’m always glad it’s there.

    IMO part of keeping an open mind is considering that there may be some value in organized religion. I didn’t as a kid. But I’m not a kid anymore. 😊

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    1. Indeed. Actually, this idea came to more from what someone said was their sanctuary rather than some qualm with religious structures. Someone basically said their backyard was there sanctuary and in the background behind a tall wall was a beautiful nature escape. The irony lead me to this idea.

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  3. There is a Bible verse that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It came to my mind as I read this post and some of the comments.

    The 23rd Psalm with it’s descriptions of green pastures and still waters comes to mind, too. It is in this picturesque and solitary setting that King David speaks of his soul’s restoration.

    Here is a song I think you will appreciate.

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    1. I find that God cannot come in the form of man truly. It’s found in the thoughtless Earth and it’s quiet creatures. The human mind befuddles God with it’s thinking and constructing. Thus preaching and word does no justice to God. We assume too much to know how to speak of such a thing with any certainty.

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      1. I think I understand what you are saying here. I had to read your comment a few times and to think about it. Personally I love preaching…when the message resonates with me.

        But there is a profound silence that comes over a person that might be accompanied with a groan here and there at those times when the majesty of one’s higher power is asserted. With me this happens more often when I am alone than when I am not. Later I am sometimes moved to write poetry. I must confess that even then they are a feeble attempt. I wrote an acrostic poem titled “Driven”. It’s not the greatest poem in the world but you might like it.

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        1. The assertion of God must be through plants, animals, and rock. Because it’s honest and undeceived. I fear man could be a deceiver; a tool of warping truth (Satan?). That’s my logic. If God is real, then he’ll show himself through the soul in a feeling, not through human means.

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          1. I am feeling a little self-conscious…concerned that I have commented a little too much on this post.
            My comments were never intended to persuade. I just saw some common ground and thought I would share a couple songs…one that is secular (“Netherlands” by Dan Fogelberg). Some of the imagery was from the desert.
            The other song was performed by a contemporary Christian artist (Nicole Nordeman). It is called “River God”. It was an analogy of an aspect of God that can be compared to the nature of rivers and seemed to complement your post.
            Here is my poem:
            “Driven” by Theresa Anne Moore
            D o we fully understand;
            R egard what’s graven on your palms and
            I nspired men to write in psalms that
            V enerate…that serve to stand?
            E stablished our steps upon the sand?
            N ot yet fully, but the glimpses draw us.
            https://serenadedinseconds.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/driven-a-poem/

            Liked by 1 person

              1. It is meant to explain why one would be driven to acknowledge that there is a force…a higher power (Some might refer to it as nature.) that can be observed in a number of settings. There is a reaction that many people have to it….they become compelled (driven) to explore it through repeated exposure to certain settings, or through reading various religious and/or philosophical books. They feel a compulsion to sing, make artwork or write compositions that pay tribute to it.

                A Christian such as myself, might memorize passages from the “Book of Psalms” or even write new ones or songs or poetry.

                “R egard what’s graven on your palms” can be seen as the use of personification to describe an intimate connection with this force. I confess that as a Christian, “I” was referring to these words:

                “15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

                16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:15-16 KJV

                But I thought that even someone with a different religious belief, or philosophical perspective, such as yourself, based on what you have shared in this post of yours, might appreciate my poem….that it might possess transcendent aspects.

                I hope that makes sense.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. I just had to share one more song. I just love to go on drives down rural highways, and take in the sights. I was thinking about your recent post where you described the beauty of the desert. I hope you will enjoy this video.

    Liked by 1 person

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