Thursday, March 21, 2013

Flunking Sainthood - Hospitality and Vegetarianism

It struck me this week how much of many of these spiritual disciplines involve paying attention to the people and things around you.

This week for example - the core of the discipline of hospitality is thinking about your guest and what will make your guest feel like they belong in your home, or your club or your church.  That is the basic definition of hospitality - making the guest feel at home - like they belong here.

The second chapter this week seems to me to revolve around thinking about where our food comes from - what impact are we having on ourselves and on the world around us by eating in the ways that we eat.

I wonder what it would be like if we tried to pay attention to the impact that we are having on the people and the world around us all the time - would we make different choices - would it draw us closer to God or to each other?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flunking Sainthood - Sabbath and Gratitude

The conversations about Sabbath keeping and what a Sabbath is and how we might keep the Sabbath in our world today have been really interesting.  But I've been pondering this week the concept of Thanksgiving.

It's easy for me to make a long list of things that I'm thankful for.  It's harder to take the time to remember to make the list - but that's another story.  But as I look at the list of things I'm thankful for they are all good things.  I can imagine you saying - well of course- what else would you be thankful for.

But I've been thinking about St. Paul's direction to Christians - "rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances"

It's that giving thanks in all circumstances that I've been thinking about.  How do we, how do I give thanks for things I don't like and didn't want.  How do I give thanks for the bad things?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flunking Sainthood - week 3

I've been thinking about the boundary between needs and wants - and when it is that things make the jump from one to the other.

We can all agree on the basics - I think - food, shelter, water, clothing.  Those are all needs for everybody at all times and in all places.

But it gets more difficult as we think about specific cases.  For example, it would be hard to argue that some kind of a telephone is not a need in 21st century America.  While a car may not be a need in New York City or Chicago - it kind of is in Clarence.  I guess it's technically possible to get around without one - but it's so difficult as to be unrealistic.

So what about voicemail? a computer? a t.v.? a radio?  Which of those things are now, in effect needs?  When does something make the jump from a want to a need?  What are the criteria?