Facilitated by Greg Kennedy, SJ
Nothing quite says it like the Book of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and chasing after wind!” In the humdrum grid of daily monotony who hasn’t paraphrased this brief book of the Hebrew Bible, which avows that there’s nothing new under the sun and that most of what takes place on this planet, pandemics included, is pretty much pointless.
That a human should sometimes moan under the dull weight of existence is not at notable. Surprising, however, is that this moaning would become sacred scripture. In the Bible, the cynicism of Ecclesiastes has no less standing than the prophecy of Isaiah and Ezequiel. What this means is that there is also something holy and inspired in our struggles to come to realistic terms with the absurdity and nonsense that dog our every-days.
Existentialism is the current of modern philosophy that addresses head-on the full foolish banality of human life. It wrestles with the existence of God, of higher purpose, of a hopeful future, of a moral code that nicely organizes everything. Honesty would have us admit that we all are, to some degree, existentialists. The author of Ecclesiastes certainly was one, or at least a prototype. To take his book seriously is to give range to his misgivings, disappointments, and frustrations, all within the strange landscape of belief.
This retreat takes Ecclesiastes seriously. Its existentialists concerns are sharpened today by the thickening cloud of ecological crisis. We’ll contemplate its declarations on wisdom and folly, nihilism and grace against the backdrop of urbanized, commercialized, stressed-out humanity found at the end of its biospheric rope. Then we’ll test the wattage of its enlightenment claim: that what’s best for us is to enjoy our honest work with the food and drink it provides.
Open to believers, agnostics, atheists, philosophers, spiritual fence-sitters and the merely curious, “Turn, Turn, Turn” is the retreat for which there is a season in your life right now.
The retreat consists of recorded videos, plus optional, spiritual direction and group sharing.
Please note that space is limited so register early. Deadline to register is February 26.