For “R,” I'm listening to Rage Against The Machine's first, self-titled album. I've listened to their other three more recently, and it was high-time I dusted this one off. Besides, Tim Cummerford is one of my all-time favorite bassists. I didn't have anything for “Q,” so I reverted to Pearl Jam's “Yield.”
Back when I was attending Church, there was a perceived dichotomy between spirituality and Religion, the former having to do with personal experience, and the latter being dry, prescribed Ritual. A conversation with a Believer at work last week showed that the distinction is still a hot-button topic. While I lean more towards a Gnostic belief, where experience is more important, I'd argue that ritual shouldn't be dismissed out-of-hand.
Part of my daily ritual is to spend the first 45 minutes of my day reading Blogs and drinking coffee. A couple days ago, I over-slept. While I made it to work on time, I was really thrown-off by not getting that predictable, slow wake-up time.
Another one is dressing; I won't put on work clothes until about twenty minutes before I'm due to leave, and it gets me into the right head-space for retail. Likewise, when putting on my 'grubbies,' I'm more into cleaning or yard work.
We use such rituals for Calli's comfort too: 7:40 is bath time, then a lotion rub, then a last feeding as she dozes off. Of course, that's flexible, but she goes to sleep pretty well now, and I'm guessing that the routine helps.
From another point of view, I heard a story of a non-practicing Hindu who's mother had died. He had been an Agnostic academic type, but for the funerary rites, the sons were required to wash the body. I think it sounds absolutely ghastly, (and it made me glad that I'm not a Hindu) but he found the experience to be very cathartic, and was more at-peace when he was done.
From a Christian point-of-view, it's good that they're focusing more on the relationship with their Maker, but if I went to one of your services, what would I see? I bet it goes something like this: A few songs, prayer, more songs, prayer, message, prayer, songs, dismissed. Why is this formula so popular? Because it works! Dozens or hundreds of people can be brought into accord, because they're all led into the same rhythm, and that syncronicity is powerful, like a concert, or a sporting event.
Of course, nothing is etched in stone (anything stiff is either dead, or close to it!), but rites and routines can be useful in their place as tools to get someone in a desired head-space. What little rituals are you using?