> I'd rather not touch very much on religion, but I will
> point out that one of the very wealthy in the world is
> Mother Theresa! Although not personally wealthy, she
> commands a lot of wealth in this materialistic
> world. The Christian church itself is very wealthy!
It would be unwise to argue from the undoubted fact that *some* Christian
churches are very wealthy that this is a sign of mastery over material
wealth. Reformers down the ages have argued (for me, persuasively) that
very often such wealth has derived from collusion with political and
economic power by people who have abandoned the heart of the Church's own
message and thereby lost "spiritual" authority. They have been mastered by
Mammon, not the other way round!
That's not to say that spiritual authority does not on occasions command
wealth, only that *if* it does, extreme vigilance is required. As the
early Church recorded it quite bluntly : "You cannot serve God and Money"
(Matthew 6:24) - but they also record this curious exchange (but note :
the context is the leader's imminent betrayal for "a sum of money")
"He said to them, "When I sent you out barefoot without purse or pack,
were you ever short of anything?' "No,' they answered. "It is different
now,' he said; "whoever has a purse had better take it with him, and his
pack too; and if he has no sword, let him sell his cloak to buy one. For
scripture says, "And he was reckoned among transgressors," (Luke 35 ff)
> If we are talking total personal mastery, doesn't that
> include all aspects of this life on earth? Spiritual,
> physical, emotional, and the material marketplace?
> If you only focus on one aspect, whether that is money,
> physical, or spiritual, could we be missing the other
> parts of this life experience?
> I'm reminded of Sidhartha, who to truly reach enlightenment,
> had to fully indulge all the different aspects of life.
> Only then could he 'become one with the river' (if my memory
> serves me right).
It's a long time since I read that so I can't comment. I would have
thought, however, that most religious perspectives (if they permitted it
at all) would value 'indulgence' of desire for material wealth only as a
way of learning that wealth is not what it is about.
> Only from within can we transform ourselves. Likewise, to
> transform 'the dangerous inadequacies of this System' we
> can only do that if we truly understand, can master the
> system, and then, we can start to transform it!
Whoa, there! Whether "we can transform ourselves" is at the very least
debatable. Protestant Christian experience would be that such a thing is
impossible - that we are hopelessly compromised with the material world.
The core of that experience is that 'personal mastery' only comes as we
abandon all hope of achieving such a thing in our own strength and accept
transformation as something given from 'outside' ourselves.
Likewise, the idea that we can only transform the Wealth System if we've
become an 'insider' who understands it, is very contentious. Christian
teaching at least suggests that those who understand the System *best* are
those who are crucified denouncing it! Dare I suggest (along with many
involved in the world development movement) that the average
poverty-stricken villager in Africa knows at least as much about the
international monetary system as the 20,000 economists in the IMF? They
may not know all the intricate workings of the beast, but when it comes to
understanding its 'spiritual heart' they have greater authority (by my
> Imagine what would happen if people focused on personal
> mastery of the current 'System' and personal mastery of
> their own spiritual self at the same time!
Now there's a fascinating sentence! Isn't there a remarkable dualism
implied here? For me, 'personal mastery' is indivisible. Either you're
'together', with a holistic vision, or personal mastery is, for you, (as I
said in my original missive) "nothing more than" mastery of, in this case,
the market capitalist System. When you see that Personal Mastery in the
*true* sense is all-or-nothing like this, you realise that it is
unachievable "from within". Personal Mastery begins with a realization of
being hopelessly compromised.
Go ahead and try to "imagine...!" You may find you cannot help "touch on
Part of me feels that, maybe, that's not what this LO forum is about, so
warn me off if we're straying. But a greater part of me feels that these
questions are fundamental to thinking about Learning Organizations. It's
the very fact that LO thinking is hitting the bedrock that I'm interested
in it as a churchman working with church congregations on organization,
mission and all that.
Revd Dick Wolff Mission Enabler to the Wessex Province of the United Reformed Church Tel : +44 1865 511798 Fax : +44 1865 310769 e-mail : email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>