The following is a bit of writing out of the ordinary for my blog site and is usually the kind of thing that appears only in e-mails I send to friends and family, but in light of Richard Rohr’s Spiritual Capitalism (See below.), I sent out an e-mail and then decided to post it.
So here goes:
The more I realize the counter cultural nature of Jesus in relation to every culture, the more I see God’s Realm as Jesus described it as the true system of all of life, the light of life — physical/material, emotional, spiritual — emptying of all, embracing all in love and living justly without fear.
Has our capitalistic culture transformed American Christian religion into one more “consumer culture” as Richard Rohr contends? If so, no wonder I haven’t been going to church lately.
In light of this Congress and the growing gap between the very, very few super rich and all the rest of humanity and the ever more rapid descent into ecological destruction, these words of St. Paul do not seem like just hyperbolic, anachronistic, mythic war language.
They have taken on a diabolical incarnation in its present manifestation, which points beyond itself: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the host of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6: 12).
It does seem like all the illogical, rhetorical drivel coming out of Washington has a source beyond itself. Just the usual babble from the Tower of Babel or is the sum greater than the individual parts? What is driving all this lunacy? When things get out of control, fear steps in and bad things happen. Why can’t we just give up our illusion of controlling anything outside of ourselves and “Let go and let God”?
Whatever happened to that time-honored notion of “compromise”? Compromise is possible when people are wise enough to know that they don’t have all the answers and never will. Give a little, gain a little and get on with it.
Don’t envy the billionaires. They, too, are being driven by something that has great power over them, and it makes them far more dangerous than most of the rest of us. A study was done by Boston University a few years ago on the psyche of billionaires. By and large, they live their lives in fear — fear of losing what they have acquired and so they hang on tighter with the grasping pinchers of William Golding’s Pincher Martin.
The terrorists are onto all this. It isn’t rocket science, but it sure works in its diabolical simplicity. We spend trillions of tax dollars that we don’t have and terminate or incapacitate the lives of so many of our young when all the terrorists do is hijack a few planes for a pittance of flight training and slam into America’s Holy of Holies — the twin towers of the World Trade Center. You don’t think our fight or flight fear reaction is overkill, do you?
I keep looking for a few streams of light piercing the clouds of our own darkness revealing a bit of hope here and there and ever and always looking for the perfect love that perfectly casts out fear. Then I practiced a bit of personal awareness, saw some light deep down there and then saw the day in a whole new way.
It was good to get in a few days camping without ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and MSNBC and all the blah, blah, blah from the rarely sublime to the mostly ridiculous.
Thank God for PBS and NPR and poetry.
From: Center for Action and Contemplation <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: September 30, 2013 2:16:08 AM EDT
Subject: Richard Rohr’s Meditation: Spiritual Capitalism
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation:
The phrase “spirituality of subtraction” was inspired by Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), the medieval Dominican mystic. He said that the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. Yet I think most Christians today are involved in great part in a spirituality of addition, and in that, they are not really very traditional or conservative at all.
The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things—in fact, everything—as objects for our personal consumption. Even religion, Scripture, sacraments, worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves—not necessarily ways to love God or neighbor.
The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me. Finally, even God becomes an object for my consumption. Religion looks good on my resume, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list. Some call it spiritual consumerism. It is not the Gospel.
Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 114, day 123
(Available through Franciscan Media)