Spending on destruction or construction?

QUOTE: "But why would anyone prefer spending on destruction to spending on construction, prefer building weapons to building bridges?"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/opinion/bombs-bridges-and-jobs.html?_r=2

The question above is a really good one. Really good in many levels. the author is talking about national expenditure, but we can just as easily see this as an individual question. Why do I choose to spend (energy, mostly) on destruction rather than construction. Why do I prefer to build weapons rather than bridges? In this case I take weapons to be a vague euphemism to any pursuit which enhances "me." that could be knowledge which is hoarded for the sake of being smarter, and it could be money, and it could be, quite simply, sitting in front of the TV mindlessly. Alternatives to these three activities would be to become more knowledgeable so I can teach others, to volunteer at a literacy program for example. Money, of course, could be earned to be shared, to help others, to give back to the greater family, the neighborhood. And personal pleasurable pursuits like watching TV could be exchanged for playing board games, but they could also involve watching movie together, to discuss them later, rather than watch by myself for my own pleasure.

The list is endless. Unfortunately the author is not concerned with reasons for this preference, that is not the point of his article. But I am. I should prefer to build bridges but I end up digging moats. I should prefer spend on construction, instead I spend most of my time managing to the lowest possible levels any constructive interactions I might be able to have with others.

Jesus, it seems, did not feel it was too important to develop a good and healthy self-esteem, to get some quality downtime with himself or even to relax. Even when he went away, he went away to connect with God, and anyone who has tried to do poustinia will be quite aware that it is work. Healthy, energizing? Yes! But still work. And very little to do with myself. In fact, hardly anything to do with my "self" at all.

Cap this off with Jesus engaging all the difficult relationships within his community: tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, legalists of all sorts. He never retreated from engaging everyone. He practically threw himself into mess, to the point that earlier on his family thought he was crazy, and they were certainly worried about his mental health!

Crazy. Mad. In love.

Most times it is hard to know the difference. But it is easy to spot a bridge builder, it is easy to see where I am investing my time, my talents, and my energy, and conversely, where I am amassing great wealth for absolutely the wrong reasons, burying talents, digging moats, and manning the barricades.

Time to be a little more crazy, a little more madly in love.

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About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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