Wednesday, July 07, 2021

A little lower than the…

I would say that the major religious problem today is the systematic liquidation of man's sensitivity to the challenge of God. Let me try to explain that. We cannot understand man in his own terms. Man is not to be understood in the image of nature, in the image of an animal, or in the image of a machine. He has to be understood in terms of a transcendence, and that transcendence is not a passive thing; it is a challenging transcendence. Man is always being challenged; a question is always being asked of him. The moment man disavows the living transcendence, he is contracted; he is reduced to a level on which his distinction as a human being gradually disappears. What makes a man human is his openness to transcendence, which lifts him to a level higher than himself. Overwhelmed by the power he has achieved, man now has the illusion of sovereignty; he has become blind to his own situation, and deaf to the question being asked of him.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 251

<idle musing>
I was reading in Hebrews today, where the author says that humanity was created a little lower than the angels. Today's excerpt from Heschel fits in well here. We have lost site of who we are, what we were created to be. We have become drunk with our own power, little realizing that with power comes responsibility—responsibility for how we use that power, whether for good or ill. Unfortunately, we have largely used that power for ill. And the earth shows it.

But you can't abuse power forever without repercussions. And we are beginning to feel those repercussions in our climate. And in the dissolving of our social networks.

But, like the infamous "cows of Bashan" in the book of Amos, we ignore them. As long as we have full stomachs and entertainment, all is well. Except, just as Amos says, all is not well and at some time the bills will come due.

I pray that God will be merciful!
</idle musing>

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