Sunday, March 7, 2021

From a Closed to an Open World


A permanent member of the Christian Life Community has an article in the Kyeongyang magazine on moving from a closed world to an open world.

He mentions a Gallup report made among the religious people of Korea from 1984-2014 which showed the majority were looking for peace of mind and heart. Among these were many who didn't want to watch the news. They preferred hearing a good uplifting talk or listening to music which gave them a feeling of peace.

This is similar to the talk in Korean society about 'healing' heard often. With the rise of competition considered as a virtue by society, we have stress and the desire for healing. Is this not the reason for the ongoing search for peace.

One European sociologist said with the appearance of neoliberalism we have a large number of cases of depression. Because of competition many rather than trying to solve the problems in society try to build up their capacity to fit in and find that they are not able to do so, consequently the feeling of failure and depression.

Since each believes the answer will be found from within oneself we have the increase of New Age Spirituality where each becomes absorbed in their personal development. The writer finds this assessment of the situation right on.

"Our redemption has a social dimension because God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable." (The Joy of the Gospel #178)

Love of God that is not only a  subjective feeling requires our neighbor and the world in which we concretely live this love. God's love is experienced in the world. When we don't have the proper relationship with God we will not have a proper relationship with others and the world. This is revealed often in the Scriptures.

When we become the center of all our judgments on what is good and evil and try to satisfy this appetite we call this a sinful situation. We become the center of all action, God is absent. When living as if there is no God to be revered and seeing neighbors not as brothers but as rivals, opponents to be subjugated, and objects that provide what is needed to fathom the world, this is called a broken world. God's creation order and right relationships are broken.

Jesus came to put the right order back into the relationship. This brings happiness into our lives. History shows us how strong personal desires are in determining what is done. Each one's desires compete fiercely,  sometimes closing one's eyes and justifying any means.

Christians try to break away from their personal desires in a closed world to an opened one and try to lead others to do the same. That is our mission and we must value this call and be strong in carrying out what is entailed. We need to break down the values given to wealth, honor, and power and replace them with those that Christians have been given.

Christians need to have faith in God's love for the world and hope for an open world and invite everybody to participate.

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