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A joint adventure for both the spirit and the flesh


(I wrote this on January 12, 2004)

During lunch, the long-dead Thomas Merton lectured me about the incompatibilities between serving God and serving your own flesh. He felt that gambling at a carnival was a sin, that trying to pick up girls at a bar was a sin, that getting drunk with friends was a sin. These were all sins he had committed, of course. He wasn't picking on other people, he was picking on himself ... in the hopes of teaching others how to live more saintly lives by his own transforming example.

If God created me, if I am a junction for Jesus, if the Holy Spirit moves through me, why can't we all feel good together from time to time? Why can't I spend a portion of my entertainment budget on gambling? Why can't I try to meet new fellas? Why can't I drink with friends? These are enjoyable things, fun things, things that help us to bond with friends and strangers through shared good times -- things that give us the strength to face adversity.

Many spiritual traditions conclude that small-time fun is either evil or a waste of time. I think it is more likely that the Gods & Goddesses enjoy the material world through us. If faith in God enables humanity to transcend the self, then it also enables deity to transcend the eternal. This relationship is a two-way street, a win-win solution, a joint adventure for both the spirit and the flesh.


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