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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas... The Season of Forgiveness and Love

The freedom to act creatively in our world is enabled by two dynamics… Forgiveness and LoveWhile this season is still new we are forcefully reminded by the celebration of Light all around us, to focus on the seminal events that figure significantly in our redemption. 
This is that moment in time when we seek to facilitate the birthing of the Christ among us. This Christ is the universal Influence that comes to redeem us… to restore us to our best selves, and to reconcile us to our Creator and to each other.
Our redemption necessarily begins with the recognition and admission of our need to be forgiven for our own tendencies to miss the mark… to mess up… to sin. Our lives are works in progress. None of us have any claim to perfection. This being the case, we should seek to relieve ourselves of the burden of guilt that accumulates over time because of that naivety which evidences our lack of wisdom. If we can face the fact of our own unfinished-ness, then we might not be so terribly judgmental in our assessment of the shortcomings of others.
We begin our own healing with understanding the need for forgiveness in ourselves, and in others. First we admit our flaws and our faults… and those of others around us, and then we make a commitment to walk away from them. Forgiveness is the unburdening that comes when we act to leave our faults and those of our neighbor in the past where they belong.
The other aspect of the freedom to act creatively has to do with the cultivation of that resource which is in fact the ultimate expression of our wholeness. That resource is Love. A meaningful and durable expression of Love must go beyond any romantic notion of being together. Romance most certainly has its place, but we should all be aware that Eros (the source of our erotic nature) has always been, and will always be a transient. Feelings come and go based on the culture of convenience and the fatuousness that typifies many of our interactions. The cultivation of a true Love must be grounded in a sense of selflessness – not in the shallowness of our egos. A ‘love’ which does not serve us beyond the moment, and beyond the trappings of an infatuation that is mostly concerned with our own self-satisfaction, is never durable.
Love in its purest and most lasting form is an unconditional commitment to what is just. A true love is rooted in a genuine concern for the growth and well-being of the lover and the loved. That kind of love rescues us from the miry clay of our own self-indulgence, and from the tricky self-indulgence of others. We will not always like each other, but we have a moral/ethical duty to treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. The carried consciousness of this duty becomes the agency for enhancing what is best about us, and what can be really good between us. 
Love grows in us and between us the grace that enables us to be vessels of the Christ who comforts the lonely, feeds the hungry, is the healer of the broken-hearted, and the liberator of the oppressed. As we go about our celebrations this season, let us highlight the gifts of Forgiveness and Love that are an inseparable part of the reason for the season. Above all else, let us strive to place those gifts at the very root of the tree of our lives.
One Love! Happy holidays to all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Day of Judgement Comes

There is a part of us that does not want to be governed. This is as true of us as individuals as it is for every group that is a function of our communal experience. The discipline that the operation of the common good among us demands is an unflagging inconvenience for that part of us, and for those among us who seek to satisfy their basest instincts at the expense of the potential for a healthy individual and communal experience.

The basic tenets of any well organized and prosperous social unit are expressed in values of mutual respect, a healthy regard for justice, and mechanisms for protecting each and every person from the disgusting excesses of the unconscionable among us. Societies and individuals that disregard these tenets are inevitably headed for their own doom. They may flaunt their ill-conceived and ill-gotten wealth and influences for a while, but eventually they all come tumbling down to their final resting place - the garbage heap of History.

Many among us live to scratch the unnerving itch that is the demand for self-satisfaction. The soothing of ourselves becomes in and of itself the number one preoccupation of our lives; we do so at the expense of our own existential integrity, and to the detriment of any and all who we come to see as obstacles in the way of our own comfort. Self-soothing becomes our raison-d'etre, and Selfishness our creed. To these ends we accumulate wealth and influence by any means we can. We cultivate a terrifying disregard for the ambitions and well-being of others. We devise and articulate in our behaviors a crassness that makes reasonable people scratch their heads. And we build alliances with those whose insecurities are compatible with ours.

Spiritual philosophers like the apostle Paul talk about the above tendencies and behaviors as "living by the flesh"; and he goes on to project that this way of being leads to destruction... self-destruction, and the ultimate failing of all the structures built to support this way of life. I agree with Paul. The well regarded advice that we should do to others as we would have them do to us is well taken. The other side of that coinage is that ultimately we do to ourselves what we do to others. We would do well to heed the wisdom inherent in this commandment. It applies equally to kings and peasants. Justice calls us to do right by each other. The Righteous Judge is no respecter of persons.