Monday, March 15, 2010

Spirituality and Politics from the Angle of Eternity

I've just finished one of the my Lenten books, The Spiritual Life, by the great Anglican mystic and spiritual writer, Evelyn Underhill. It is a wonderful little book full of insights. I was particularly struck (in light of recent comments made by a certain radio/tv opionator) by the link she makes between the spiritual life and politics.

With regard to saying the Lord's Prayer, Underhill affirms, "It is useless to utter fervent petitions for that Kingdom to be established and that Will done, unless we are willing to do something about it ourselves."

She goes futher:

That means trying to see things, persons and choices from the angle of eternity; and dealing with them as part of the material in which the Spirit works. This will be decisive for the way we behave as to our personal, social, and national obligations. It will decide the papers we read, the movements we support, the kind of administrators we vote for, our attitude to social and international justice. For though we may renounce the world for ourselves, refuse the attempt to get anything out of it, we have to accept it as the sphere in which we are to co-operate with the Spirit, and try to do the Will. Therefore the prevalent notion that spirituality and politics have nothing to do with one another is the exact opposite of the truth. Once it is accepted in a realistic sense, the Spiritual Life has everything to do with politics. It means that certain convictions about God and the world become the moral and spiritual imperatives of our life; and this must be decisive for the way we choose to behave about that bit of the world over which we have been given a limited control.

1 comment:

Jim Larkin said...

Thanks, Matt, for the reminder that I make a difference. I may not be out there marching, demonstrating or organizing, but I can make a difference, just in the way I live my life. I'm reminded of the commercial being aired on TV lately about the string of good deeds inspired, one-by-one, simply because an individual saw another individual do a good deed. My life may not allow for me to commit large chunks of time to activism, but I know that the way I live my life has the ripple affect, impacting those immediately around me, who may then be motivated to extend the affects beyond my immediate sphere of influence. If God's Kingdom is to be established, if God's Will is to be done, how else, but through our lives and actions?