Saturday, May 28, 2016

Social Virtue

Jane Addams, who founded Hull House, to help the downtrodden, and Gandhi both read the bible and were attracted to the social gospel aspect of it.  This would be issues such as racial justice, equality, housing, and job opportunities.  But neither of them were attracted to "church" because they saw there the mere promotion of "personal virtue," which could avoid all of the social virtue issues important to Gandhi and Addams.  One could go to church regularly, keep commandments and rules of their church, avoid pride, lust, jealousy/envy, gluttony and sloth.  Yet with all that you could avoid caring about the poor, homeless, naked, imprisoned, orphans and widows.  I find that contemplative prayer, if it is authentic, combines both personal and social virtue, and this is one of its challenges as well as its attraction to the "Fulness of the Gospel," as I like to call it.  I have to remind myself that this contemplative silence and stillness is not all about my feeling good.  It is to get me out of my own way, so that I can sense a connection and obligation to those who suffer far more than I do with my little episodes of not getting my own way.

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