Brian’s Reflection: Friday, February 26, 2010
Adversity makes [persons], and prosperity makes monsters.
Victor Hugo, author, born on this date, 1802
In my understanding of Christianity (and I do wish I understood enough of another faith to be able to speak with authority!) , it is the love of prosperity that makes monsters. “Having things” is intrinsically not contrary to the Christian Life. What is contrary is worshiping either – that is, worshipping an idol. Worshipping an “idol” simple means that we have been deceived as to what is worthy of value and what is not.
I’ve read a lot of Hugo. I think he was a wise man. “Prosperity makes monsters.” How true in America and other “wealthy” parts of the World today – which includes the rich in horrifyingly poor countries. Have you noticed where we are going in America after our near financial collapse? Right back to the same old ideas and principles which brought about our near destruction. The answer, alas, was not to help us re-vision our lifestyle or our vales; it was to get us back to the same destructive and dehumanizing situation. I find it very very sad.
“Prosperity” has made monsters of all our politicians. And of many of us. You can’t be in our government unless you are (a) rich) or (b) supported by the rich and powerful, who are, by definition, controlling and manipulative and very often without compassion, amoral and and cruel. We now have a political party which ingloriously represents this idolatry of “Prosperity”. At least the obvious is obvious.
The Gospel Message is reported once to have said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. (The Letter to the Galatians, 6:2). This is what Jesus meant by “loving one another”. Jesus warned against not bearing one another’s burdens and the consequences of it. We are seeing it in every part of the World today. In a word: Fear.
“Sharing one anothers’ burdens” means making sure that we all have the basic necessities for Living - and that means spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, as well as physically. As long as one person is dying of hunger or a victim of religious hatred, we are failing.
Most of us can’t change the World. But we can do something within ourselves, and among those with whom we live.