As we conclude this part of our lesson on toxic hurry, we look again at how our American culture makes us vulnerable to the temptation Jesus warned us about in the parable we're unpacking. We conclude by a bit of review of these six weeks, but some concluding remarks about the American predilection for avarice (though we'd never call it that), impatience, and a lack of chastity.
Avarice... Impatience... Un-chastity... These words describe spiritual illness. We know that. What we often don't know is how our own history and society as Americans embeds these character flaws deep in our national psyche. We don't see how they drive us to the toxic hurry Jesus warned us about.
As we're unpacking Jesus' parable about people who missed Divine Life because they were in a hurry, we're looking at several ways our own culture trips us into unexamined hurry. There's a powerful economic engine vested in making you want things, and making sure you don't say "no" to them. Today we look at that engine, and the negative things we experience when we have no filter in place to determine our "yes's" and "no's." Again, forewarned is forearmed.
Philosophical pragmatism was hammered out by a bunch of really smart guys in Cambridge, Mass. in the late 1800's. It has become such a successful, American philosophy that it often bleeds out of the area in which it is so fruitful and effective, into other areas of our humanity in which it is decidedly not helpful - in fact, quite the opposite. As Americans, if we would heed the warning in Jesus' parable about not getting caught up in toxic hurry, we have to know what will derail us. Philosophical pragmatism will do it!
Pragmatism: if it works, it must be good. Who would argue with that? However, when we think about making it the central organizing value in our lives (as many Americans do), there are some pretty negative, unintended consequences. If we want to not miss the party Jesus invited us to last week, we do well to rethink how deeply we allow pragmatism to go in our value system.
We begin a new lesson today that will take several weeks. We begin with Jesus' parable about a man who invited a bunch of people to the party of their lives, only to have them miss this golden opportunity because of pragmatic concerns in their lives. Unexamined lives led them to hurried, harried lives that couldn't see opportunity when it was handed to them. So it is when we miss reading to our children, miss seeing the mystery and beauty in our jobs, our people, our city, and the rocks and tree that travel on this planet with us. This