I do not believe in great causes.


“The kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed.”

For 14 billion years, the universe has got along just fine, with no need for human intervention.

On our planet, kingdoms rise and fall; prosperity varies from time to time and place to place, depending on the level of autonomy or wisdom present in the people of that time and place.

What is my task, my role, my place, in this setting?

My first task is to care for myself and manage my own affairs, using the resources God has given me here and now.  Some wilI say that’s not what the Bible says, and I myself would not have said that a few months ago.  But the Bible was written BY Haves, FOR Haves, and I am now a Have-NOT writing principally for Have-NOTS.

My second task is to live peaceably with and among the people I meet in person from day to day.  This takes work, as I’m not inclined to live peaceably with “deplorables,” whatever that may mean.

It requires that I take complete responsibility for my own words and actions.

No one else’s.

And note:  if I do these things, no one will notice.

The kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed.

Owning my own sins, my own grief, entails discomfort.  M. Scott Peck calls this “legitimate suffering,” that which comes from the inevitable difficulties of life.

Rather than engage legitimate suffering, I may turn my discomfort away from here and now, my sins, my grief; to attach to, even appropriate, others’ sins, others’ grief.  There can be great suffering here, too; what I call “ersatz suffering,” pertinent great offenses that occurred long ago or far away:

  • the Israelites’ conquest of Canaan, ca. 1400 B.C.E.
  • the Europeans’ conquest of the Americas
  • slavery in America
  • the Jews’ conquest of Palestine
  • ethnic conflicts half a world away.

“Ersatz suffering,” to my mind, makes up the vast majority of suffering in the First World today.  So we have the mass movements, the vitriol, the demonstrations, riots and wars that get so noticed in the press, on the airwaves and online.

It’s all unnecessary.

The kingdom is not coming with signs to be observed.

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