Blogging Towards Sunday, October 24
What makes a good life? Socrates says that the unexamined one isn't worth living. Jesus says that unless you're willing to give yours away you won't have one. Some say that it's about dying with the most toys or living the most fully carpe diem on a daily basis. The word GOOD is the hard part. Does it mean pleasure?; hedonism?; alturism?; generosity?; personal growth?; satisfaction?; meaningfulness?; belonging to a community?
The poet singing Psalm 65 heralds the fact that God is the source of all life. All comes from God: good and bad. We're aren't the center, but invited to live from it, to move towards it, to celebrate it together. Jesus tells a challenging parable addressed to those that trusted in themselves and regarded others with contempt. It makes me cringe when I read it. Do I have an overoptimistic view of myself and my self importance? How am I arrogant of my gifts and ignorant of those in need around me? Yet it's not just the Pharisee who seems lost. The Tax Collector, in his heralded humility, also seem to underestimate the goodness of God's creation, of his importance in the larger scheme of the Divine Intention for the Universe. How do we confront our own presuppositions and assumptions about others?; about ourselves? Why do we do so?
I love the British Pop-Star Lily Allen. [Official Site LINK] She's sarcastic, funny and thoughtful in her musical parodies and analysis of modern western life. Her song "The Fear" [LYRICS] lifts up the irony of how we live while we talk about what a good life looks like. Colorful with images, cussing and poetry; maybe not quite appropriate to sing in worship on Sunday, it lifts up the fear that seems to drive our consumption culture and cultural assumptions today: the fear of not having enough, not fitting in, not keeping up, not sufficing. A fear that becomes a moral compass for a lot of us. A compass that has no true heading.
I may follow Jesus as my compass heading and center. Yet I too easily fall into the arms of the Fear that Lily Allen sings of. A fear that disorients, cheapens life, suspects our neighbor instead of loving them, and replaces gratitude with envy. How do we let go of that Fear to embrace faith in ourselves, our neighbor and God?