Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Convent - form and content

Pip and I have really enjoyed watching The Convent on BBC2 the last 4 Wednesdays. There are a couple of things I want to comment on though.
Firstly, there is a very interesting article in this week's Church Times (no weblink available unfortunately), by Nick who was in the programme The Monastery and is now training for ordination. His basic point is that religion is not therapy and to confuse the two does a disservice to both. Religion is always focussed on the other - God primarily, and our neighbours (and is essentially corporate in nature)- whilst therapy is focussed on the self (and is essentially individualistic in nature). He felt that to a certain extent The Convent has allowed a blurring between the two. I think it's definitely true to say that the show did very much talk in terms of MY path, MY journey etc. etc. So Nick's point is that in a consumer culture, religion is now viewed as one more lifestyle option and is essentially about a personal 'detox for the soul' (which is how the show was advertised actually). What do other people think about this?
Secondly, I have been thinking about the monastic life in terms of form and content. Regular readers of this blog will know that the monastic tradition plays a very important part in the life of our community. Last Easter 8 of us made vows and committed to live by a Rule. The deeper I get into this whole thing the more I realise the power of these rhythms to change us individually and corporately.
The 4 women who entered the Convent were certainly shaped by the pattern of the communal life - the regular times of prayer etc. But the content did seem to be often very dreary. Does that matter? Is it simply the patterns and the rhythms that shape us or does the content within these patterns matter? I guess we're probably all going to say that both are important, but what are the relative values?

1 comment:

Luke said...

I think that the relative values of The Convent experinece is only something that the four participants can commnet on.I agree that sometimes the content was dreary, but I think as with anything, there are going to be peaks and trough's.