Tuesday, October 29, 2013

spiritual arson

Around here, the local newspaper is following up on a terrific fire that decimated a strip mall valued at $1.3 million. Eleven shops and two apartments were gutted in the Sunday evening blaze. No one, to my knowledge, has yet mentioned a word that is probably on police-investigators' minds: Arson.

When times get tough, arson and its potential for subsequent insurance pay-outs is not uncommon. Proving arson is so difficult that insurance companies seldom expend time or energy investigating: Arson is a small percentage of overall income on the one hand and, on the other, even if you proved it were arson, there's the further chore of figuring out whodunit. It's cheaper to make the pay-out.

And it occurs to me that spiritual adventure, when it's any good, is precisely like a successful arson fire: The blaze is deliberately set, sometimes with the help of accelerants, and, when the crime is a success, all of the evidence of a crime has been burned out of existence.

Were there any evidence of the preceding crime, an arson, like a spiritual life, could hardly be counted as a success.

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