Some Mild HeresyPosted: March 14, 2015
“To organize is to destroy”
Anyone who has known me very long knows I’m critical of institutions, organizations, hierarchies. I believe the ideal society would lack all these. But I’m certain that we will never even get close to ideal society this side of Jesus’ return. So all these things are necessary evils. They are best kept strictly in check, whether in government or business or in religion.
This is why I love transformational festivals like Burning Man. People who attend them believe a better society than what we have created is possible and these festivals serve partly as experiments in alternative society. Of course, they are failing, and I believe failure is inevitable. But there’s something that feels very much like holiness in their attempt. And who knows? It could someday result in a better society, even a small pocket of it, than we have now.
Not that it would stay that way.
“The more you pile up ethical principles and duties and obligations to bring everyone in line, the more you gather loot for a thief…”
Everyone, it seems, wants to drastically change the way things are now – in government, in business and in religion. Radicals seem to want an end to one or more of these. I believe someday that will happen – when Jesus returns. But for now, even if major change comes, there will be no heaven on earth. Systems are evil because they are made up of people – and people are subject to intense temptations, sometimes even with good intentions.
“By ethical argument and moral principle the greatest crimes are eventually shown to have been necessary and, in fact, a signal benefit to mankind.”
I’m approaching old age now, and I’m tired. I’m tired of a lot of things. One of the things I’m tired of is all the finger pointing and arguing and anger toward each other. I myself am guilty of all of those. Yes, I’m even “tired of myself”, to quote Tom Petty.
Those who hunger for a better society, economic arrangement, church, whatever, need to begin with the person in the mirror. It starts there. That’s another reason to love transformational festivals. So many who attend are making some degree of effort in that direction. And that too feels very much like holiness, or at least the desire for it.
Sometimes, as tired as I am, I wonder how long I can go to these festivals. But I’m powerfully drawn by the intense need for Jesus followers to be there, and so I know I’ll go as long as God supplies.
Would you like to be a part of this important work? I would be honored. Follow the link, and in the comment box at the end, type “festival missions”.
Thanks for reading!
–Quotes are from Thomas Merton’s The Way of Chuang Tzu