Saturday, June 2, 2012

burn it all down

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The Roman Catholic Church is between a rock and a hard place: In order to maintain the principles it claims to espouse, the church hierarchy would need to admit that it has been complicit in the sexual abuse of its priests and openly seek the forgiveness and healing it claims to dispense. But to make such a confession would light the fuse of a zillion lawsuits that would probably bankrupt the entire institution. To date, the church position seems to rest on the proposition "let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater," a sentiment that posits the good the church can and has done (and coincidentally maintains the positions of those in power). The trouble is that this argument invariably leads to skipping over the healing and forgiveness aspects ... it sounds good, and plays well to a certain audience, but it neglects fundamental flaws. (Example here in priest abuse diary.)

The same approach is also on sporadic display in the Zen Buddhist community, where sexual malfeasance accompanied by financial shenanigans has been dealt with in ways that apparently managed not to throw the baby out with the bath water, but maintained the sanctity of the baby. (See the Shimano Archive as an example)

And it's not as if spiritual entities were alone in their efforts to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. Wall Street's depredations that led in the current economic downturn are everywhere decried and yet the need for greed holds the baby up above the waves of disgust. (See the "Frontline" documentary about Jon Corzine, CEO of the battered IMF Global)

What interests me here is not so much the endless arguments and counterarguments, the wailings and gnashing of teeth, the extraordinary efforts to save what is good while excising what is bad, the maneuverings and manipulations ....

It's the principle of the baby -- of saving what is touted or perceived as worthy of saving. Everyone's got a baby. Everyone's got an ox that can be gored. And everyone may sweat mightily to preserve and protect, patch up and maintain.

But I think there is another serious option for individuals to consider and perhaps employ: Burn it all down. To the extent that anyone is not yet able to burn down the temple or temples s/he has so lovingly built, to that extent precisely there will be no peace.

This moment comes and goes. It's just what happens ... nothing sexy or insidious about it. No one can hold or release this moment. And the same is true for our most cherished beliefs and philosophies. Social anarchy is for teenagers, but I think adults would be well advised to consider according with life a bit more. Cherish the baby all you like, still this moment will burn it all down. Isn't it time to nourish the mind that already knows what this moment is capable of? Isn't it time to enrich the earth and burn it all down?

No one can do what the moment does, but that doesn't mean that denying the moment and preserving the baby is a sensible frame of mind. Sure, build beautiful and meaningful and nourishing temples -- be as kind as possible, work hard, lend a hand ... but burn it all down ... all of it ... from institutional organization to construct of the mind.

No one wants to live between a rock and a hard place.

Or maybe they do. I don't know.

I just think it's worth considering.
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