Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goodbye to the Age of Chronic Luxury

I have, in my mind and in some other spots, framed this naught decade and the decade before as an age of chronic luxury.

Goodbye age of chronic luxury.

It was too much to ask for shelter or our daily bread.

A house in the slums grew to great value when the street signs also had an add-on saying “historic district”.

There is more than enough guilt or culpability for the fantasy world of finance and wealth and well I never did quite buy into it all. Maybe I was born too late or something inside me, as a student of history, knew that the bubble would pop any day now.

Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

The bubble in America and perhaps the planet is going to do some adjusting to a lesser standard of things now.

Perhaps shelter and one’s daily bread will gain in virtue, retrieved and or recycled from the dumpster of this recent past.

One thing missing in the virtual world of the new and now amended economics has been brotherhood and a sense of who one’s neighbor really is.

My bubble world wraps around my heart and simple things.

The basic Jesus message of loving oneself and one’s neighbor may go out of fashion from time to time.

The classic message will always remain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Of some of the direct comments I get as e-mail from an occasional reader – some are not quite sure what I am trying to say. I do try to say things in a manner that does not offend any occasional reader. I try to communicate as clearly as possible.

What I also hear is that we are all “looking for something” or that (we) “think we all essentially want the same thing in life”. Many of us see the world differently but perhaps we are listening to some same “collective unconsciousness” that Jung tried to describe.

Nobody seems to have many answers to the many questions regarding life.

I ran into the following some time back.

“It seems to me that the only true Christians were (are?) the Gnostics, who believe in self knowledge, i.e. becoming Christ themselves, reaching the Christ within, the light is the truth. Turn on the light. All the better to see you with, my dear.” John Lennon – Skywriting by Word of Mouth

Of course the so called Gnostic gospels were discovered in a clay jar near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. The Nag Hammadi library is the Christian era equivalent of the Dead Seas scrolls found two years later in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea.

I find the coincidence extraordinary that these two lost repositories came to light in an age when they would be treasured and not ignored or destroyed by sheer ignorance.

I will not comment on the Dead Sea Scrolls but rather on the Gnostic gospels which represent more a philosophical and cult approach to the ministry of Jesus. As an amateur reader of the NT, I did not feel comfortable the first time I tried to read translations of these lost texts. The ministry of Jesus is far clearer in the Constantine Bible (NT).

There is one Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Thomas that I think more readable than the rest but it is short and only a listing of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of the sayings you recognize as being in the synoptic gospels of the NT. One saying in particular stands out for me.

That is:

His followers said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here
it is,' or 'Look, there it is.' Rather, the father's kingdom is spread
out upon the earth, and people do not see it." - Gospel of Thomas 113

Of course many would debate if Jesus truly said this.

Getting back to John Lennon’s quote about being Christ-like and being responsible to what one sees or feels like the divine spark within, I am reminded of a word from the Buddhists – Bodhisattva.

A Bodhisattva is supposed to be an enlightened person on one well along the road to Enlightment. This individual takes the time and energy to share wisdom and help others on the road to enlightenment.

Perhaps somewhere on the road to the future of Christianity is a mix of Sacred and Secular, of Jesus, John Lennon and Jung, and the spirit of Bodhisattvas everywhere.
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