Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Stone which the builders rejected…

There was once a boy – a thoughtful, insightful boy - who carried a great weight. He was the village bastard in a town that had no tolerance for illegitimacy. And so the other boys could not play with him; the girls shunned him knowing his descendants for ten generations would share his shame; and the adults refused to allow him into their place of worship. All this for a sin he had not committed.

As he grew, the hurt turned to anger. He saw how the children and adults of his community accounted themselves as blameless in the eyes of the law. They observed all the commandments of the Great Lawgiver, and were fastidious in performing the rituals, the duties, the responsibilities. And they broke his heart.

And as he grew, the anger turned to rage. How can this be, this thoughtful boy wondered. How can the whole community refuse to acknowledge my existence and still count themselves as blessed? My God, why do they abandon me!

And as he grew, the rage became all-consuming. Until at last he reached the end point. The community outcast cast himself out into the wilderness. And said he would never look upon a human face again until he either destroyed himself or made himself whole.

And alone, in the dark place where the traveled road ends, he began to see light. He realized that the Great Lawgiver Moses was only half right. It is not enough to avoid evil; for those who do so can still cause great suffering. It is necessary, rather, to undertake that which is good.

It is not enough not to kill; we must love, even the enemy. It is not enough not to steal; rather, we must free ourselves of our possessions. It is not enough to abstain from adulterating the bond of trust in another’s family; for to even look at a woman or a child with abuse is to violate them.

So the young man came in from the wilderness, but refused to return to his hometown where the broken people would never forgive his becoming whole. The stone which the hometown rejected became the cornerstone of the region’s social life. Henceforth, if there was a party or a gathering anywhere in the surrounding county, he was the center of attention.

He went about doing good; mostly by telling others they were not bad: “You are not fallen angels who must apologize for your existence. Rather, you are worthy by the very fact of your existence. You manifest This-Which-Is to those around you; as they to you. So be at peace with yourself, and in your composure be kind to others. That’s it! It’s no more complicated than that.”

Now at that time, a wicked king ruled the land. And the people responded in different ways. Some entered the wicked king’s service; others withdrew into the desert; still others took up crude weapons against the imperial steel. The young man said there is a better way: “Set against the Kingdom of Evil is the Kingdom of Good. The Kingdom of Evil is ruthless, rapacious; setting one against another. The Kingdom if Good balances on three pillars of wisdom: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. Do these things and you already dwell in the Kingdom. If you have not yet begun, make haste! For behold, the Kingdom of Good is made more real by one person’s act of kindness, than by a legion of true believers straining at gnats, splitting hairs, setting one against all, in an effort to avoid error. Go in peace, your very existence marks you as a child of the Good. Amen. Alleluia!”

6 Comments:

Blogger damian said...

Tom,

Naturally, some theologians would get nervous with this narrative. What I find interesting: the story does not depend upon the logic of conversion. The psychological dissonance or even violence of conquest and domination is removed, and this is quite powerful.

I agree that there are truly only two categories useful for organizing ourselves and others: there is broken humanity and "true" humanity. The rejected "boy" in your story points the way to true humanity..

I'm curious, Tom: the lesson of the story is clearly embedded in the lived experiences of our material reality here on earth. But is there a component of the story that is beyond the natural world as well? one that is, dare we say, spiritual?

~Damian

12:30 PM  
Blogger Kare said...

Incredible story comprised by few words that convey volumes of truth.

I believe positive change WILL occurr in my lifetime, bit by bit, with much time, effort, sharing, and outreaching of folks like you, Tom, to fellow humans who can use greater levels of compassion and awareness.

Thank you, Tom.

Kare

5:15 PM  
Blogger Kare said...

Incredible story comprised by few words that convey volumes of truth.

I believe positive change WILL occur in my lifetime, bit by bit, with much time, effort, sharing, and outreaching of folks like you, Tom, to fellow humans to help expand their levels of compassion and awareness.

Thank you, Tom.

Kare

5:20 PM  
Blogger Kare said...

Sorry if my comment posted more than once. I'm new to blogging processes. :o

5:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Mahon said...

Damian, I did not see an email address for you at your caucus blog. Re your comment - I think the natural and supernatural are the same thing observed in different ways. I think the notion of separating them - physical and metaphysical; sacred and secular; pious and profane - is what gets us in trouble. I think the 'natural' is what we can measure; the supernatural is the deeper reality behind that, immeasurable but no less real. For an extended treamtment, see www.reconnecting.com.
-Tom

10:38 AM  
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