Tuesday, March 21, 2017


   In a previous post I said I would write about creating a new vision and "changing the conversation,"with which we start to build a new society, which will move the Kingdom of God on Earth forward.  This is necessary because, even despite millions of citizens trying hard to live moral lives, our present public society can justly be said to be beyond repair.  We cannot correct it; we have build a new society along side it.  Hopefully, a renewed church will arise within this new society.

   In sum, we have to look within what's wrong with our society and discern and acknowledge the evil that is active within it.

    We naturally have trouble using the word, "evil."  With good reason we resist calling a person evil.  That judgment belongs to God alone.  Rather, when we see people engaging in violence, murder, racism, sexism, and hatred of all kinds, we prefer to say that they are wrong, or mentally ill, or criminal.  But as spiritually serious persons, we can and must go deeper and judge that such actions are evil. 
   How do we see and understand evil today?  To begin with, it is true that to err is human.  We are not perfect; we all make mistakes and do things we should not do.  Honest mistakes are not evil.  

   Here we have to clarify how some Christians understand evil.  They read the story of creation and understand it to mean that we were created as perfect humans and that we fell from perfection, and it was our own fault.  This is a misunderstanding.  The ancient Hebrews who created the story believed that everything that God did was perfect.  (They added the seven days of creation to the original story because in Hebrew, seven is the number of perfection.)  So to explain our human imperfection, they created a Fall from perfection.  That was the best they could do with the understanding of that time.  Christians later came to understand the Fall as Original Sin.

   Today we know that there was no Fall from original perfection.  We evolved from pre-human hominids.  We make mistakes because we are space/time creatures, and nothing in space/time in perfect.  The fact that we are imperfect is not our fault.  It is our human nature.

   As humans we can think, reason, understand, wonder and love.  These are the gifts--the graces--we use to overcome our imperfection and move forward and evolve in our humanity.  We will never be perfect here in space/time. 

   But there is a rub.  We also have the ability to say "No" to our humanity, to abuse our own nature and fool ourselves into believing that we are God.  We see this, for example, in authoritarian people who "know it all" and who dictate laws and rules to others and who will not tolerate any ambiguity or human fraility.  Such people are intolerable and can be dangerous.

   Our ability to say "No" to our human nature is actually our "Original Sin."  Believing we are God contradicts our own nature.  And that's were evil come in.  Evil is a self-contradiction.  It its a lie that pushes us into absurdity and unreality.  Ironically, when we raise ourselves to the level of God, we actually degrade ourselves and lower ourselves to a sub-human level.  

   Evil is deep within us and our society.  It cannot be discerned by shallow people or a shallow society.  It can be only be discerned by spiritual adults who can see the dark absence of grace that evil represents in people and society.  So while it is just and humble to say that people who inflict political, economic and religious corruption upon us are not evil, we have to be able to discern that evil is the root of the corruption that their actions inflict upon our humanity.         

   For example, spiritually mature people can discern evil at the root of a federal budget that takes food away from sick and elderly people, or takes health care away from people, without clear assurance that the states or the people themselves can make up for this loss.  They can discern evil at the root of actions taken by corporations who pollute the earth without any care for the earth or for people who suffer from the pollution.  Evil is at the root of the judgment leveled by religious leaders who condemn those who walk away from their church because their church is not spiritually nourishing them.  In today's spiritually shallow society, we are beyond the ability to correct these misdeeds on their own level.  We have to go deeper.  And this means we have to bypass today's society and build a new society.  
   Here's a good, practical example of how to handle and defeat evil.  Recently, a guest on Joy Reid's TV show said that President Trump's budget cuts are evil and could result in people's death.  Then a smug commentator trivialized the matter saying that we should "tone down the rhetoric."  In today's society, "rhetoric" means, "meaningless talk."  He then added that the Congress will deliberate on the budget.  He thereby presented two popular "defenses" for evil:  first he minimized the problem and then he tried to divert the conversation away from it.

   But Joy would have none of it.  She cut him off saying (I paraphrase), "Let's not go into politics.  We're talking about President Trump denying food and health care to needy people.  Stick to the facts!"  That was it.  Joy showed us how to face and defeat evil:  Recognize it and then without hesitation rebuke it and refuse to converse or negotiate with it.  Then get back to the facts at of the matter and search for the truth.

   Recognizing and rebuking evil clears our minds and spirits and makes room in our mind and spirit for us to create the vision of a new society of justice, peace and love, and a new conversation to go with the new vision and society. In my next Post, I will begin to create our new vision and the new conversation that will arise from it.

   God is calling us to recognize the signs of the times, both the good to be retained and the evil to be removed, so we can work to continue building the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for--which is why we're here on earth.




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