My brother told me about a very interesting piece that ran in the BBC recently entitled, Hard Times for Japan’s Temples. In short, it describes the slow and painful decline of the temple in Japan and how modern society has opted out of that religious institution.
Perhaps more interestingly is what steps have been taken as attempted remedies. The specifics are perhaps not as important as this quote from the monk who oversees the temple. He says,
“Look,” he said, “in my grandfather’s day those [mats for prayer] would never have been allowed, but I’m innovating. People here are getting older, too old to kneel, but now I’ve put these in so some can sit while they pray.”
Innovation being employed by the leader of a religious institution for the purpose of attracting new people and making them feel comfortable… does that sound familiar to anyone?
As secular society continues to opt out of religious obligations and institutions, what is the diagnosis? Is revolutionary innovation going to win the day? Or, is a Return to Tradition just what the doctor ordered? Thoughts?