1/05/11 From the Ministers Exclusion Zone Desk
There are plenty of influential writings we should revisit and some we should never forget. One article I found was something I have not seen for a while, it makes interesting reading.
“Gandhi, one of the most influential figures in modern social and political activism, considered these traits to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity.
- Wealth without Work
- Pleasure without Conscience
- Science without Humanity
- Knowledge without Character
- Politics without Principle
- Commerce without Morality
- Worship without Sacrifice”
Well, I smell a little plagiarism (and I might know) but we will come back to that in a minute. If only humanity had been listening to this wisdom we might not be in such a mess. And yes, if only the Church had not left such powerful thought gathering dust on the shelves we might have a stronger UK Church. Whether it’s the idle rich or the shallow church and everything in between we don’t have to look far to see that Gandhi’s warnings have come true. But before we start trawling through each of them do you get the feeling you have heard them before. They are known as Gandhi’s seven deadly sins. And you may need reminding what the seven deadly sins were all about.
The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the list is usually given as anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Well I am sure there is nothing here for any reader to worry about!
Again these thoughts sound familiar. In the Book of Proverbs, it is stated that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth." namely:
- A proud look.
- A lying tongue.
Hands that shed innocent blood.
A heart that devises wicked plots.
Feet that are swift to run into mischief.
A deceitful witness that uttereth lies.
Him that soweth discord among brethren
While there are seven of them, this list is a shade different from the traditional one, with only pride clearly being in both lists. The last one about discord is a stark rebuke to those who struggle with agreement or those who enjoy stirring things up.
And then in the New Testament, St Paul presents a list, in Galatians 5:19-21. It includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, reveling, "and such like". Paul goes on to say that the persons who commit these sins "shall not inherit the Kingdom of God".
These four lists present clear guidance for conduct and of course I have not included the Ten Commandments or Beatitudes. Life needs standards whether secular or religious to enable people to prosper. In a time when economies are in free fall and society has got the blues, blowing the dust of such thoughts may be quite refreshing. For Christians dust should not have settled in the first place.