Jesus Christ

David Platt And Rejecting The American Dream


I don't have a lot of time or energy to write anything in depth today, but I wanted to share an interview with a pastor named David Platt, who is a Christian pastor out of Alabama. 

If you follow this blog at all, you'll know that I am no Christian. I do admire Jesus greatly but I generally think that Christianity has done far more harm than good on the earth. The message of the gospels has been bastardized throughout the centuries. And today in America, it has taken on maybe one of it's ugliest forms: the prosperity gospel.

I was drawn to the work of David Platt in part because he rejects the prosperity gospel and any reading of the bible based on material wealth. As he says in an interview with Christian Post: 

"There is obviously a cultural and historical disconnect between us, 21st century America, and the disciples in the first century. As a result of that, there are a lot of things that we tend to cloud our Christianity with that unknowingly, in many cases, miss the entire point of the gospel.

I think with the way we have unprecedented material blessing, with the way we have a culture built on self, self-esteem, self-confidence. All of these things we begin to twist the gospel into something that it is not. We make it look like us and fit into our lifestyle instead of adjusting our lifestyle to the gospel. In the process we make following Jesus more American than it is biblical. "

Platt's big insight, it seems to me, is that modern American culture and the classical liberalism of Edmund Burke is built on the edifice of the self; but that the spirit of Christianity has little of anything to do with the self. It has to do with sacrifice and surrender to a great power. 

There's a lot to love about this notion. After all, every great religion at some point is built on submission of the ego to the power of a higher power. It's a quaint notion to have faith today, though, as God has died for many of us. But I wonder, maybe a new form of spirituality needs to be found where a higher power isn't the center... it's something I plan to write about for many years to come.  

How Capitalism, Greed and Depression are Related

How Capitalism, Greed and Depression are Related

One subject I don’t see a lot of writing about, but which happens to be one of my primary interests, is how capitalism affects mental health. The effects are often so subtle implicit and woven into the fabric of everyday existence, it can be difficult to parse out. I am by no means an expert and have my own blind spots and biases but I will continue to try and do so in this post and future posts.

My work gives me a unique perch to see how capitalism affects individual psyches and can cause much psychic pain. Because of this perspective, I’ve decided to start writing about how capitalism can affect mental health. Today I’d to begin with depression.

The Wound Is The Place Where the Light Enters You

The Wound Is The Place Where the Light Enters You

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

― Jalaluddin Rumi

I just wanted to briefly follow up on the Jimmy Santiago Baca poem I posted last week, "What is Broken Is What God Blesses." It's a lovely poem not only for its imagery-- how lovely is the phrase " the addict’s arm seamed with needle marks/ is a thread line of a blanket/frayed and bare from keeping the man warm"-- but for its theme of suffering.

Learning to Sacrifice in a Capitalist World: 3 Ways to Consume Less and Push Back Against Greed

Learning to Sacrifice in a Capitalist World: 3 Ways to Consume Less and Push Back Against Greed

Recently I came upon this interesting bible verse,

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, even their own life-such a person cannot be my disciple.”- Luke 14:26

I’m not a bible scholar or even a Christian, but I find this bible verse fascinating. Is Jesus telling us to hate everyone we care about, including ourselves? Somehow, I doubt that’s true. My sense is that this is a metaphor. Jesus is discussing the notion of sacrifice for a greater good (in this case, to follow him and give up their old lives.)

The notion of sacrifice is a strange one in today’s world in that no one seems to want to do it. Capitalism, in particular, encourages us “to get mine.” As one of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Noah Levine, said in a recent podcast, “Greed, Hatred, and Delusion are the norm. It’s compassion that’s in scarcity.”