Source: Sherman Publications

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Spiritual matters
Turn to Jesus for help in a shifting society

November 09, 2011

"In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables." John 2:14,15

Jesus was a trouble maker. He questioned authority and challenged the status quo.

He worked on the Sabbath: picking grain (Mt.12:1) and healing the man born blind (Jn.9:14), offenses that were punished by death under Old Testament Law (Ex.30:15).

He challenged the authorities. He called them vipers (Mt.3:7), hypocrites (Mt.23:13) and accused them of being liars and offspring of the Devil (Jn.8:44.)

He challenged their scriptural teachings (Mt.16:12) and evidenced their failure to follow the great commandment (Mt.22:37-39) in the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk.10:29-37.) Etc., etc., etc.

The current Occupy Movement is questioning authority and challenging the status quo.

You may support their cause or be merely sympathetic to their issues or be repulsed by their actions and think they should be thrown in jail; we have to acknowledge that there is an incredible level of discontent with business as usual.

The Tea Party is based upon the same energy with a different agenda.

As I listened to two of the current Occupy Movement organizers being interviewed on NPR the other day, three words stuck out for me: conscience, conversation and culture.

They are asking that corporations, business owners, politicians, everyone have a conscience and do what is for the highest good of all. This seems reasonable to me, a "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Mt.7:12) mentality.

The current economic system can be likened to a game of musical chairs; there seem to be fewer and fewer chairs while more and more people want to play.

Wall Street, the President, Congress; none of that can or will solve our problems. We the people have to engage the conversation; we have to initiate the discussion of the solutions that really work. Jesus didn't blame the man who was robbed; he praised the Samaritan who helped him get back on his feet.

Capitalism has proven to be the most successful economic system for innovation and development.

And, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Our culture doesn't seem to be able to distinguish the benefits of giving people a hand-up from a hand-out. Education, training, assistance are necessary to lift the lower class of income earners up. Lack of jobs causes people to resort to theft to feed their families and the downward cycle accelerates. People need meaningful work.

Family Systems Theory teaches that individuals cannot be understood in isolation. The problem child is a symptom of a dysfunctional family system. It is only when we address the dysfunctional system that true healing can occur. Whether we are talking about a family, a body, or society, true healing requires a shift in how we view the system and how we relate within the system.

What is emerging is a new paradigm; this is the shift. Jesus ushered in a new awareness of our relationship with the infinite, unlimited, eternal existence that is God. Today, we are being called upon to increase our awareness, to awaken to the dysfunction, acknowledge that the system doesn't work for all, accept our part in perpetuating a dysfunctional system, be alert to the opportunities to foster positive change, ask for Divine guidance and act upon that guidance in ways that truly benefit all.

You are God's beloved in whom he is well pleased (Mt.3:17, Lk.2:14.)

Blessings of peace, joy & love.

Matthew E. Long is senior minister at Peace Unity Church & Holistic Center.