Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peacebang: giving up sound and fury signifying nothing

I just read a sermon on Lent and thought I'd share a few excerpts.  It's worth reading the full sermon at the link here if you have the time:


(She also has the http://beautytipsforministers.com/ blog, which is very funny and informative, but we'll leave that alone and focus on this for the moment.)

Think about how we bond over strong shared opinion, how much fun it is to argue about, for instance (and I’m just taking a few examples from my own recent life), whether Big Papi is going to be worth all the money the Sox just committed to paying him for his new contract, or whether Whitney Houston’s funeral really merited all the coverage it got, or the insanity of a Congressional hearing on contraception coverage with an all-male panel of lawmakers, or who should deserve to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Think about how you bonded this week over the terrible service you got at the restaurant, or how ridiculous your sister-in-law is being over Junior’s peanut allergy.

Such energy in all of that, and even fun. Being cynical, being witty, earning points as sharp conversationalists – these are all ego-boosting, and many of us define who we are by exercising those critical muscles, whether privately, in our minds, or in public conversation. Even those people with gentler, less combative natures engage in constant assessment, judgment, opining: what do I think about this? Does that waitress deserve a 15% tip? Where should I take my business? Was my grandchild appropriately grateful for that gift I gave him? I would have been more grateful at his age…

Critical mind is always running...

...It is important to have convictions. We should have them, we should work to define them, we should strengthen them in religious community and we should stand for them in the world. But there is a spiritual difference, and a moral distance, between convictions and intensely felt opinion that comes from personal preference and ego investment. It is hard work to discern between the two, especially when we have elevated opinion to the level of sacrament, holding it before us as a object of veneration, as if it will save our souls, or save the world, or even in the end , even contribute anything to the common good.

Now, voyager, lay here your dazzled head. Give up. Let us give up that sound and fury signifying nothing, and let us come back to earth, to the truth of it, to the peace of it. Let us find common cause not through hating and being critical of the same things, but in sharing the bonds of peace in the unity of the spirit. Neither our children nor our communities can be fed on fire and air, but with this bread.

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