Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Lie of Anthropocentrism

Just about every night last week saw a fresh news report on weird weather happening throughout the nation. Common sense, and the TV meteorologists, tell us that this is a result of climate change. These stories reminded me of an opinion article published by the Los Angeles Times two years ago warning of the dangers of our anthropocentric approach to the environment. Expressed by both the oil company who wants to exploit and the hippie who wants to protect, this worldview places human beings above nature and legitimizes our efforts to control the environment. "Mother Nature" seems to be reminding us that someone else is in charge of things.

"The greatest lie, the greatest scam of our lives is that this world was created for us, for our pleasure and enjoyment, for our dominance. What stupid, arrogant animals we are. We were created for it. We are simply the audience. What would true art be without an audience? Only in this work, the artist painted us inside the canvas. We are art and audience all at the same time. We are part of the grandest work ever created, ever dreamed."

We may be special, but so is all of God's creation. We are not the center of the universe, nor are we its caretakers. Our family is bigger than one species, and it is time for us to adopt an attitude of humility towards nature. We can do this on our own initiative, or nature will do it for us. Such a forceful humbling would not be a punishment from God, but rather the logical consequence of our oversized ego.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goals & Outcomes

What am I trying to do here? As I discern my immediate future, this question looms large. There is a part of me that longs for clear answers. This is the me that dreads trying to explain all of this to family, friends, and especially co-workers. The world we live in demands that we make specific goals regarding career, family, finances, etc. We are expected to produce very tangible outcomes.

Life would be so much easier if I had something to sell. Who wants the truth for free when you can own the secret to the mysteries of whatever from some guy on an infomercial? I'm not trying to become some self-help guru or cult leader, nor is this about founding a new religion or spiritual movement. I'm just some guy who's been entrusted with a piece of information and an obligation to share it. So are thousands of other morons on the internet. Why am I so special?

The reality is that I'm not. This is not and never will be about me or what I want. As I wrote on the Ash Wednesday post on the "Good News" blog, "My life does not belong to me; it's just on loan from the real owner. What I do in life matters not a bit if I fail to follow God's will." I exist to share what God has revealed; they've never promised that anyone would listen, nor does that really matter. I'm not sure I'll ever understand why our Parent chose me to deliver a message, but they did and that is that.

Part of me wishes I could do this as a hobby, be a part-time prophet. I could write my blogs, then go about my day and blend in with everyone else. That, however, would just be an attempt to make this convenient for me. There may not be a concrete goal, but I know that whatever I'm doing here is just the start. As for outcomes, I haven't got a clue; fortunately, those are under someone else's control.

There is a quote from Francis of Assisi that I use on each of my websites: “Who are You, my dearest God? And what am I but Your useless servant.”

This is who I am and who I aspire to be.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Almighty Dollar

"No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Simple, unadorned truth. The kind that resonates with common sense. And yet how much time and energy do we spend trying to figure out a loophole. So many American Christians tie themselves into knots every work week in an attempt to have their cake and eat it too. They also do their best to bury their heads in the sand to avoid admitting that they're eating their neighbor's cake as well.

I know, I know. Money is necessary. It's just the way the world operates. Denying this is naive, or even worse, class warfare. The rich are people too. Lots of them do lots of good with their money. They help people. Blah, blah, blah.

Let's cut the crap. We can pretend that we are innocent victims of the marketplace, but we all know better. We created the market, not God. It serves our interests, not theirs. We can hide behind economic theory to justify our uses of wealth, but it's just plain wrong for some of us to live in luxury, while our siblings go without basic resources. It's shameful and sinful, and no amount of spin will ever make it right.

This is not about taking vows of poverty or joining a commune. It's not even about changing the world or ending suffering. It's about recognizing what is true and committing oneself to living by that truth as best as one can. Above all, it's about rejecting a lifestyle and a culture built on charades and lies.

"You cannot serve God and mammon." It's time to choose your real master.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

God Evidence

I recently heard a talk given by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., co-founder of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith. He spoke about recent developments in theoretical physics that "proved" the need for a creator, giving us "evidence" for the existence of god. It is clear that many Christians are passionate about these kinds of efforts. Let me be equally clear in saying that these efforts are foolish.

What exactly are these Christians trying to prove? As another attendee of the talk noted, his "evidence" fits Deism just as much, if not more than Christianity.

Who are these Christians trying to convince: others or themselves? Such "evidence" may help those who are overly doubtful or being overly challenged to hold on to a tenuous set of beliefs, but will it convince them to fully embrace the leap of faith when that leap involves great sacrifice? Did Jesus do a research project before picking up the cross, or was he motivated by something else?

"Why do you babble so much about me? So much time and energy, for what purpose? What more is there to understand about us than love? You think too much and feel too little. You talk too much and love too little."

We can keep trying to "prove" the obvious to the blind or we can just start loving our siblings a bit more than has made us comfortable so far. It's time to make a choice.