…unless you are willing to admit our flaws.

Americans are a horribly inconsistent bunch. We expect things we have no reason to expect, for which there is no evidence of even te possibility of manifestation, but not only do we expect them we also become enraged when we don’t get them. Some of that is what I call an error of direction. In short, we get the “to” and the “from” confused. Much contemporary spirituality is an error of direction. Historically, spiritual beliefs arose from a community’s observation of the presence of the Divine at work among them. Stated another way, people noticed God working and said, “Hey! I think God works like this!” If enough people agreed, a shared belief grew. If not, the belief faded away over time. Gradually a collection of shared beliefs grew and a religion emerged.

Lately, however, it seems that the process has been corrupted and reversed. People decide what they would like God to do and then develop a “teaching” that claims that is precisely what God will do if you follow our carefully enumerated steps. Evidence is not required in these systems, only demands imposed on the Divine. One of the most obvious examples of this in contemporary times is the so-called “Law of Attraction.” Its essence is that if I want something to happen and believe it will happen, then it will indeed happen. This is labeled a “spiritual truth,” presumably to protect it from refutation. The problem is that a secular proverb refutes it: “If wishes were horses, dreamers would ride.”

To return to my point, the history of the United States is not very pretty. In fact, the history of the world isn’t very pretty. Historians try to pretty that history up by applying verbal and historical perfume. As anyone knows, perfume is no substitute for soap and water. We wonder why we have corrupt politicians, a broken justice system, unrest and violence in our cities, rampant abuse of women and children, but the answer is right before us. On the whole, we are a greedy, selfish lot. We have no desire to change our ways or reform. We hope that if we believe we deserve better long enough and hard enough, we will get it. Our arrogance and our insecurity keep us from looking at our behavior, and our trail of imperialism, colonialism, and racism goes unaddressed. We have the right to whatever we want and expect that the rest of the world will go along with that crazed notion.

It’s time to pay the piper. Don’t expect change until we do.