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Showing posts from March, 2012

Compassion under pressure

The entire goal of the spiritual life is compassion – as Meister Eckhart emphasised, “if you were in an ecstasy as deep as that of St. Paul and there was a sick man who needed a cup of soup, it were better for you that you returned from the ecstasy and brought the cup of soup for love’s sake.”
I fail this test frequently. And not because I am in ‘an ecstasy’ too great to tear myself away from and serve my fellow human beings…no, nothing as wonderfully spiritual-sounding as that… Most often it’s because I am too busy, ‘not in the mood’, distracted, irritated or self-absorbed…
Compassion takes time, energy and the willingness to become involved in something that might snowball into something much bigger than you at first anticipated. Sometimes I just don’t feel I have the energy to ‘go there’ with a particular person or situation I am confronted with, usually at an inopportune moment (like when you are on your way to work, or already late for an appointment…)
Is it even ‘reasonable’ to e…

Community and courage

I am looking for a community and society I can introduce our daughter into with pride. This isn’t it.
These recent words of mine on facebook elicited many responses from friends and family - mostly those in South Africa – either saying I should move to their neighbourhood as it has good schools and churches, or that the perfect community does not exist...
I found these responses most unsatisfactory, and here‘s why:
A ‘good’ community or society is more than its schools and churches – these are only ‘good’ for those that are a part of the particular group or subculture – I want to be part of something bigger than that: multi-layered and inclusive, with a good mix of people of various races/ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, age groups and religious/worldviews.
Anything lacking this diversity is a subculture, an ‘us and them’ space, and often an elite or exclusive group which ‘allows’ membership based on certain restrictive criteria or traditions. Conversely, true community is open …