A renewal of covenant theology and the commandments...
Fr. Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation posted this reflection that deserves deeper consideration. It resonates with Brueggemann's observation that the 10 Commandments are the sacred alternative to the rules and order of Pharaoh's consumption/addiction paradigm.
“Do not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Exodus 20:17) is almost impossible for the world to see as a problem. We call it the 10th commandment, but none of us take it seriously, even those who want to make it a monument on the courthouse lawn. I have never in 40-some years as a confessor, heard a single Catholic confess a sin against the 10th commandment. It’s almost impossible for us to see this as a moral issue, liberal or conservative, because it is called capitalism, and is the very air we breathe, and the shape of our entire world.
Now you see why the one thing that drove Jesus to violence was when “buying and selling” (Matthew 21:12) took over the temple space! He knows it’s the end of any real depth or spiritual understanding when everything becomes production and consumption of commodities. He knows that the Great Temple, true holiness, has indeed been destroyed, and we will no longer will be able to enjoy reality at the transforming level of divine Spirit or human soul.
Dramatic and exciting church reforms are merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as long as our basic world view is still largely about “buying and selling.” We will make divine grace and mercy themselves into a matter of earning, losing, achieving, punishing, and meriting. The Gospel will be completely dead and gone, while we clergy will continue to discuss new translations of liturgical texts and the laity will argue about who is saved or not saved. Such a Titanic lie deserves to go under.
Rohr and Brueggemann echo an essay I was reading this morning by Wendell Berry entitled, "Christianity and the Survival of Creation" in which he notes:
+ Most of Western Christianity has lost any sense the CREATION is God's self-revelation - the FIRST book of the Lord - and to defile it - intentionally or in ignorance - is blasphemy of the highest order. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof...
+ All of life is holy - we are holy creatures living among holy creatures - and we forget or deny this at great risk to ourselves and all creation. I like the way Berry puts it when he writes:
If we are to remain free and if we are to remain true to our religious inheritance, we must maintain the separation between church and state. Buy if we are to maintain any sense of coherence or meaning in our lives, we cannot tolerate the present utter disconnection between religion and economy. By "economy" I do not mean "economics," which is the study of money-making, but rather the ways of human housekeeping, the ways by which the human household is situated and maintained within the household of nature. To be uninterested in economy is to be uninterested in the practice of religion; it is to be uninterested in culture and character... I do not believe that organized Christianity (currently) has any idea (of what a healthy household would look like...) But the current order is an economy firmly founded on the seven deadly sins and breaking all of the Ten Commandments.
It would seem that a renewal of covenant theology - and a radical sense of what is at stake in the commandments - has something to say to us in this era when our only option seems to be "the murder of Creation as our only way of life." (Berry)