Church and spirituality have had a troubled relationship in all ages and all creeds. A Church without spirituality is lacking an important inner drive while too much spirituality can be dangerous for organized religion. This appears to be the case in antiquity where more spiritualist cults and well organized religion were at odds, it is certainly true for early christianity, where too much spirituality was a straight road to heresy and it is the case in medieval times as well as the early modern age. While the gregorian reforms produced lay spirituality on a large scale that lead both to the resurgence of heresy and the founding of such powerful institutions as the franciscan order, the more radical spirituality in the aftermath of the reformation actually became a political force to be reckoned with, as both Charles I. and Oliver Cromwell found out in the english civil war and the protectorate. But there were other forms of spirituality that were less open and outspoken and they flourished in the 18th and 19th Century. The separation of spirituality from a form of organized religion has been a large phenomenon in the 19th and 20th Century first with the attempt to create a positivist alternative to religion, lacking the spiritual component and later with the New Age movement and the resurgence of esoteric ideologies that set aside organized religion for an individual spirituality. In a particularly interesting twist this has also been the point of so-called rediscovery of pagan spirituality from the pre-christian era and a turn to shamanism and other forms of spirituality. But similar struggles between organized religion and a more free spirituality can be discerned in Islam, Judaism and other religions. In this workshop we will look at different examples of how organized churches and free spirituality have coexisted, worked together or against each other and influenced one another, supplying people both with rules and rational theology and a more intuitive, emotional approach to the large questions our universe poses.

Workshop-leaders: Raphael Pabst (ISHA Marburg), Tamás Sárhegyi (ISHA Budapest)