Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Good Diagnosis but Lacks a Good Prescription...

What is humanity's greatest surprise:

Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; the result being he doesn’t live in the present or the future; he lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.

With these words the Dalai Lama (whom I have met and with whom my wife and I enjoyed a private audience at his villa near Margaretville, NY, some years ago -- but that is a long story) has done a good job of diagnosis of the human condition and our frailty.  It is my experience that the diagnosis is easier than the prescription for healing.  And, of course, this is where Buddhism falls down.  I quote his diagnosis because it is short and pithy.  The answer to our human frailty and the answer to the dilemma of the human condition lies not with a simple re-ordering of the present day and its priorities.  It requires nothing less than death and resurrection.  If it were simply a matter of rearranged values and some discipline, we would have hardly needed or counted on any divine intervention.  But each week we come confessing not only the diagnosis but also the helplessness that makes us sinners miserable.  We cannot save ourselves.  What we have said and thought and done wrong is our fault, our own fault, and our own most grievous fault but without the incarnation of the God who can rescue us we are left only with our regrets.  The answer to our lost and sinful condition that has left us with a skewed view of past, present, and future -- as well as dead to life itself -- is nothing less than Jesus Christ.  So we rejoice to hear not some call to discipline or self-denial or wisdom but the Gospel itself.  Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to died for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins.  As a called and ordained servant of Christ and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  To which the only answer needed and appropriate is the faith to say, Amen.

2 comments:

elmhurst erik said...

Your analysis of the Dalai Lama's words can also be applied to the art world. Making deeply meaningful art that's centered on doom and gloom is far easier than making art that represents healing and deliverance. This is something I have struggled with as an artist.

"Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one." -Lyndon B. Johnson

Janis Williams said...

Elmhurst, you are correct. Making healing art is a truly difficult task. It is made more difficult when the 'art world' is skewed toward that doom and gloom. Not just the critics, but so many of the artists, too. More than gloom and doom, it is destruction, decay, and death that prevail.

Also, the artist who is a Christian must fight the old man. The world, flesh and devil are in the artist's brush, sculpting tools, and his very hands.