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Meditation Dissolves Sticky Sin

There is, as we all know, personal sin. We all know our faults—or suspect them. They are the causes of our individual, psychological hell—the domain of the false self. However painful, they present no great obstacle to the love of God welling up through our cracks to heal us and give us always another chance. But there is something else in the realm of sin that affects us because it conditions us through the culture we live in. It is more collective and impersonal than our personal faults. This sin possesses not just individuals but whole groups.

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Who Do We Want to Be?

Experience is a stronger persuader than argument, and we act well to the degree that we see clearly. The parable (better called the parable of the two brothers) has an obvious moral point. Given the two brothers’ personalities, which seems closer to the father? They are in fact equidistant. The prodigal brother can’t understand the nature of the father’s expansive love. The older, killjoy brother is entirely lacking in the generosity that characterizes his father.

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The Stone Rejected by the Builders

The ecological dream is to produce new energy by reprocessing all waste. Whatever has been thrown away or rejected is then reintegrated into the economy of life and a sense of equanimity and balance is achieved. But this is as hard to do in the inner life as at the global level. Whenever something is thrown away (waste) or labeled as useless (rejected), there is an accompanying feeling of failure, or of a missed opportunity, or of incompleteness. The deepest human instinct is for meaning, wholeness, connection and integration.

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The Chasm that Divides Us

We live continuously with a chasm between the haves and the have-nots, the healthy and the sick, the smart and the dull, the gorgeous and the ugly, the slim and the fat, the lucky and the cursed. It’s what we mean by “the world.” The question is how deep and wide this chasm should be allowed to become. The wider it is, the more unreal we become; the deeper, the more painful is the chasm. If we don’t work now to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor it will increase exponentially and we will be irreparably divided. In Gospel wisdom, the end is always a beginning.

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Not to Be Served but to Serve

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many It’s amazing how the Church can repeat these words of Jesus from a place of hierarchy and privilege. The only thing that exonerates the Church is the presence of people within the system who are well and painfully aware of this inconsistency. The spirit of service and the true humility, which is the mystical–moral core of the Gospel, is inevitably linked to the knowledge of mortality.

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Turn the World Upside Down

We trust Jesus because of his suffering and its transcendent aftermath, and because he spoke from a passionate addiction to truth that is the only kind of addiction that sets us free. Religion itself is laid bare, not just one denomination. The corruption of the best is the worst, and so deserves the highest level of exposure and condemnation. You are all brothers and sisters—how are we going to square that uneconomic idealism with the need for hierarchy and privilege masquerading as service and humility? Jesus is so radically disruptive.

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