Diremption Redemption, Part 4

In our last post, The Liberal Pulpit asked:
"In what ways are you exiled from the inheritance of joy and belonging that is our birthright?
To what are you in bondage? What is the price to pay for liberation, for return into our own, for realizing ourselves?"
We must bear in mind that this idea of price-paying is subject to misapplication and misuse. It reminds me that the word “trite” originally referred to an old coin that has exchanged hands so often it has been worn smooth.

When European elites in the Middle Ages purchased indulgences to erase sinful behavior and thereby get into Heaven, that was paying a price with coin worn too smooth.

When wealthy corporations today go to court, lose, pay a hefty fine, treat it as a cost of doing business and continue their operations as usual, that’s paying a price with coin worn too smooth.

Redemption (the kind of redemption we’re interested in here -- the redemption not of coupons or of a mortgage or even of honor but of life) is not trite. Redemption entails paying a price not with coin worn smooth, but with the currency of personal transformation. You pay by offering to the world a new self, shiny as a new penny, your features not smoothed over but in sharp relief, clearer than ever.

Maybe you feel stuck in a dead-end job. Or in an abusive relationship. Maybe you are entrapped by the detritus of your own material success – bound by your “stuff” and consumed by desires to protect it, maintain it, simply keep up with it all, or, God forbid, get more of it. We may thus be in exile from the life of simplicity and freedom.

The core of redemption is freedom. It has another core, too. Redemption is a “dual-core processor.” The other core is love.

You see, your liberation from whatever holds you back is of a piece with the liberation of the world.

I think that’s the insight expressed in the legend that Siddhartha Gautama, after sitting all night beneath that bodhi tree, as the day dawned, looked up and saw the morning star and was in that moment awakened, enlightened, and what he said in that moment, the first words of the Buddha that he now was, were:
“Behold, all beings are enlightened just as they are.”
In his enlightenment, he perceived the enlightenment of others. Just so, your liberation is the world’s liberation. Thus the diremption we experience is redeemed; the sharp division into two is made whole.

With the fresh and shiny coin of your new self you purchase – or make a down payment on – a transformed world. Redemption is about how freedom and love go together and make us all new.

The coin paid for our redemption, paid in love, cannot be trite or cheapened – and that is what truly can free us.

I don’t know how deep Elwin Wilson’s redemption goes, but I believe that the depth of his redemption corresponds to the depth of connection in love that he was able to make with the man he once beat. We don’t know if the man who spoke with Gandhi was redeemed, but I believe his redemption corresponds to connecting in love with a child and a faith tradition he has despised.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr preached:
“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”
So love your enemies – including that most intimate enemy, yourself, the self that you don’t like, that you keep trying to chain up in the basement. Your liberation requires the liberation of all your selves – and our liberation entails the liberation of all of us.

It kinda IS like the internet. One person can’t be an internet. The freedom we get from free access to information comes from connecting with each other. The total freedom of spiritual liberation comes from connecting with everything in love.

The links are all around you. Click . . . everywhere.

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This is part 4 of 4 of "Diremption Redemption."
Previous: Part 3.
Beginning: Part 1.

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