Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moving from Analog to Digital in the Church

A priest writing for other priests recounts his early life on a small farm, helping his parents. Paddy field farming requires many hands at the time of  planting and again at the time of harvesting. Dry field farming, however, requires continual labor throughout the growing season, and without such help it was difficult to make a living farming. Compared with preparing the crops of beans and sesame for market, cucumbers and potatoes required another step: selecting and grading the products for market.  The price is determined by size. While the parents were picking the cucumbers, he would be in the house determining, by size, which were superior, best, good, or inferior. Digital scales now make it  easy to do this, but in the old days it required judging with the eyes. And when in doubt about which grade to give, the farmer would most likely convince himself to give a higher rather than a lower grade.

"'Each time is different" is a phrase that was often used back then; judging was done according to  circumstances. The persons, the time, the situations are all different, so  are the results. What is the standard that we use to make our judgements? It is easy to say that if we make our judgements on greed, it is wrong. And if we make our judgments without regard for personal benefit, it  can be good.  When something is important to another, we should not consider it unimportant. How many, without concern for their personal  benefit, live freely? How many politicians have forgotten the will of the people and decide on the benefits to the party? And how often do those in industry not think of the welfare of the workers? Another example of not seeing the greater good because of deriving personal benefits would be the Four River Project.

In all our actions, we are to desire the common good in our action; that is what we mean by living the Gospel. When we live according to Gospel values, our behavior will seem ridiculous by the world's standard, but that is the only way we can live. If we're interested only in having more Christians and larger collections, we then become accustomed to the ways of the world and in the process destroy the Church and lose our strength. If we just work according to worldly values and forget Jesus and what he  taught, we  lose our way.

The writer concludes that the change from analog to digital scales brought a big change in the selection of vegetables. It is time for all of us to switch from analog to digital.  But we are still living according to our feelings, going in the direction of personal benefits and comfort. It is time to leave all this behind us, as we are doing with our analog devices, and begin to think like the Lord for whom we work.   

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