Wednesday, March 15, 2017


“Have you ever thought… about whatever man builds, that all of man's industrial efforts, all his computations and calculations, all the nights spent over working draughts and blueprints, invariably culminate in the production of a thing whose sole and guiding principle is the ultimate principle of simplicity?
It is as if there were a natural law which ordained that to achieve this end, to refine the curve of a piece of furniture, or a ship's keel, or the fuselage of an airplane, until gradually it partakes of the elementary purity of the curve of a human breast or shoulder, there must be the experimentation of several generations of craftsmen. In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”

Antoine de Saint Exupery

I posted this years ago on Facebook. A couple of Christian friends left comments:
"Ahh! Congratulations Steve! The best ever oral depiction I have ever heard of Christ's gift of redemption and love...."
Then, from another:
"No kidding, that's exactly what it is! Sometimes, the taking away part is so hard, but once it's gone its sheer bliss!"

I'll tell you the truth. I kind of resented the comments. 
Congratulations? Really? Christs gift of redemption and love?
Maybe because these two always seemed to make it a point to turn anything towards Christianity. But I guess that's what people do, the way I sometimes want to relate everything to my 12 Step Program, and would rather see my Higher Power as something named other than Yahweh.

But last week over at Alive on All Channels Beth posted this Richard Rohr quote:

The notion of a spirituality of subtraction comes from Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1327), the medieval Dominican mystic. He said the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. Yet I think most Christians today are involved in great part in a spirituality of addition.

The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things—in fact, everything—as objects for our personal consumption. Even religion, Scripture, sacraments, worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves—not necessarily ways to love God or neighbor.

The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me. Finally, even God becomes an object for my consumption. Religion looks good on my résumé, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list. Some call it spiritual consumerism. It is not the Gospel.

Richard Rohr:

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations

So OK, maybe I get it.
Life is often less about hanging on, and more about letting go.
But I don't think "Redemption" means what my friend thinks it means.
Maybe Remission would have a better word

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