TEXAS FAITH 58: What happens when the pew and the pulpit don’t see eye-to-eye?

Dallas Morning News,

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

In this essay from the Washington Post’s On Faith blog, Robert P. Jones drew several conclusions from polling data about the flap over Catholic institutions being required to provide contraceptives.

Among his conclusions was this observation:

"The Catholic bishops appear to be gearing up for a long fight against the mandate itself, but the Obama administration’s compromise seems likely to satisfy lay Catholics’ concerns, without losing younger women’s support in the process. Obama’ support among Catholics appears to have remained steady as the controversy raged last week."

What he suggests is that there is a difference between the pew and the pulpit on this matter. Of course, that is not the first time a divide has been seen between the leaders of a religious tradition and those who adhere to that faith.

What I would like to hear from you all this week is how such a divide gets resolved in your tradition. I recognize that sometimes they aren’t resolved, but I would like you to elaborate upon this question:

What happens in your tradition when there is a divide between the pulpit and the pew?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

There must be a divide, for spiritual culture is a counter culture in opposition to materialistic culture.

Spiritual culture teaches that we should all love and serve God. In material culture we teach others that they should love and serve ourselves as God. It is rooted in selfishness. But it is also just ignorant selfishness, because one must first know what is the self in order to endeavor to please the self. So even though it is rooted in selfishness there is no one who is actually satisfied.

How to know that one is selfish? Take a picture with your friends, take a look at the picture and then see who did look for first?

Because the body is only the vehicle and the soul is one who drives this vehicle, it is imperative to act in a way that pleases the soul, rather than ignorantly trying to satisfy the unlimited longings of the body and mind. The vehicle must be maintained properly however the driver is of utmost importance.

Such a divide is there because of this difference of consciousness and a bridge can developed through education and practice that produces direct experience of the spiritual pleasure of satisfying the soul. Hare Krishna.