"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

loathsome earworms, karma, etc.

Who knows how or when these things get into our heads, but heading out for a run this morning my internal stereo was plagued by a certain perennial patriotic country/pop song I dare not name, for fear of infecting my readers' heads with it as well. I am happy to report that I was able to get rid of it by substitution with the classic, stirring, patriotic "Wasn't That a Time" - originally by the Weavers but I'm very fond of the PP&M version. No video but you can listen to it here. So - if you ever are suffering from the earworm to which I'm trying not to refer, know that there is a cure.

So I watched the BYU - Florida State game yesterday. It was on the Versus channel, my favorite cable channel EVER (and one of the few I get with basic cable). I have a little bit of ambivalence toward BYU but I really wanted them to win one for the Mountain West. Or at least not be smeared all over the field. Which they were, pretty much. Things might have gone better if they hadn't had such a spirit of generosity with the football. Reflecting on the game while running this morning, though, it occurred to me that the 'Noles are sort of like the Utes of Florida. That makes the crushing loss not seem so bad.

But oh, the glum faces in the stadium. Why did BYU lose so badly?

They were completely outplayed. But apart from that, the question raises a serious and pervasive spiritual fallacy. That suffering or loss is ever something inflicted by God as a punishment for sin (at worst), or as some kind of deliberate 'teaching moment' if you can't see why you / someone else would 'deserve' what happened. Conversely, that everything good and desirable that a person might want or enjoy is assigned as a reward for personal righteousness. Gain or loss is neither a blessing nor a curse, it is a situation arising from the continuous playing out of cause and effect. I'm a heretic (if you hadn't already noticed) but I just don't believe that God is the great Skinner Box operator in the sky, or a micromanager of the universe so as to interfere with the system of cause and effect, as much as we might sometimes wish for interference. But I do believe in the blessing of gratitude and acceptance. That is probably the only thing we ever really need and lack, and it's the only blessing I can think of that isn't a little bit mixed.

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