Tag Archives: Faith Practices

religious attachments

i’m reading the Bible right now… like straight through. it’s not a quick read, but it sure is interesting.

leviticus calls up some interesting images and philosophies.

first, all the sacrifices, especially the ones where they throw blood onto the altar, really remind me of voodoo practices in benin. they are so similar–it’s like deja vu.

which leads me back to the always interesting question of religion’s role in civil society. montesquieu would say something about how religious actions lead to religious attachments. the more you do to keep up religious traditions and trappings, the more you are bound to them and by them. and somehow that translates into order, reason and judgment… helpful components of society. if you’re attached to something, you belong to it. if you belong to it, you belong to the community espousing it as well. belonging fights chaos. meaning even “false” religions have their place in creating and preserving civility.

so interesting.

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prayer in benin

prayer is something that really differs in benin. for one, people pray ALL the time. so much so, that is someone (seemingly randomly) exclaims, “Jesus!” you know they’re actually being reverent, not using the Lord’s name in vain. before pelagie and i leave the house to go to the market, we pray. before josue takes prisca to work in the morning, they pray. before we all go to bed at night, we pray, together, for each other. today i’m supposed to have a prayer meeting at the school we use for most of our meetings (i say supposed to because it’s been raining all day, which, quite literally, puts a damper on most plans). i’m told this will be a short meeting, since we’ve just be asked to come in and pray for the teachers as they start the school year. short means… maybe one hour. the prayer meeting (and i don’t mean church, this really was a meeting) i went to on sunday was five hours. different people take turns leading the prayer, but no one is ever praying alone. everyone prays their prayers aloud all at once. it can get pretty noisy, especially if the prayers are for protection against spiritual warfare, a constant concern to the beninoise Christian. everything is in the “blood of Jesus.” “dans la sang de Jesus! amen!!” it can be very exciting. and moving. you definitely don’t have to worry about falling asleep!

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