A Spiritual Middle Class

A Spiritual Middle Class (1,238)

August 14th, 2011

I have been rich and I have been poor. I have had plenty and I have been in need. I have been nearly homeless and I have been the owner of a half-million dollar abode. In both cases I was too focused on money.

When I was poor, I was always trying to figure out how to stretch a dollar, grab a dollar, manipulate a dollar, or dare I say, even beg for a dollar. It encompassed my whole mind. When I had money I was deeply concerned about maintaining my nest egg, while adequately expanding it to impress those around me of equal financial ilk that I was on top of my situation—in the know. I spent the entire time focusing on my dollars, to the loss of my sense. The two situations had one thing in common—money was God.

To the poor man, money is God because he worships the absence of it and prays for the presence of it. To the rich man, money is God because he worships the presence of it and prays that there be no absence. The most merciful thing God can do for a human being is to get the mind off of money.

Jesus came to reach a spiritual middle class. I’m not talking about individuals who make a certain scale of salary or possess a particular portfolio of investment. No, his message was geared to those who understood the importance of balancing need and greed. He knew that we had a need for money. He was aware that the pursuit of things is a human instinct—but he warned us that the best way to achieve this was to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things would be added unto us.” How?

It’s because cool-headed people stay cool under pressure and do cool things—ending up with cool results.

Religion has been taken over in our country by the lower and the upper classes. It is either too conservative or it is much too liberal. Spirituality is portrayed as either the deprivation of our desire, or an over-indulgence in our wishes as being equivalent to the wishes of God. Where is the spiritual middle class? Where are the people who understand that everything in their lives has to be mingled with good reason, good attitude, good nature, good generosity, good pursuits and good effort?

We have lost sight of the balance between human involvement and God’s gift, so those in the spiritual lower class spend all of their time praying, fasting and living by a strict set of rules, hoping to please what they fear to be a hard God, who has placed them under great peril. Those in the upper spiritual class think of God as their friend at the yacht club, who wants everybody to be rich, and like them, pities the poor but does little to help them.

Let me give you a simple example. Take movies. I write movies. I write movies that are for thinking, mature, intelligent and spiritual adults. Sometimes my movies, to the lower spiritual class, don’t have enough God, Bible, salvation and may contain, by their standards, too much common language. They are afraid, so they transfer their fear into my work and my endeavors. Simultaneously, those in the spiritual upper class may watch one of my movies and think it has too much God, too much message, too much thought, too much storyline and too much about people instead of car chases, sex scenes and violence. To them, movies are a guilty pleasure, not to be viewed as anything but entertainment for their more carnal side.

Where is the spiritual middle class? Where are the people who realize that Jesus doesn’t go away just because we go to the store and we’re shopping for groceries, but rather, spirituality seems to work best outside the church, in an application of everyday life? Where are the people who take spiritual principles and make them daily bread instead of treating them either as holy Eucharist or Biblical caviar?

If we are going to see a transformation in our country, we must escape the struggle between the lower class, which tends to be too conservative and the upper class, which languishes in liberalism. A spiritual middle class believes in three things:

1. There is no church life and real life, just life.

2. As I respect my emotional and spiritual life, my mental and physical life begin to make some sense to me.

3. Extremes are always to be avoided because they are on the edge of a cliff, where everyone tends to fall off.

If we would just adhere to these three principles, the gospel of Jesus would begin to become more functional instead of being this great mystery, where we pretend to be confounded, or some sort of heavenly meal ticket, where we pursue abstract wealth, often at the expense of others.

Jesus made it clear—“the poor you have with you always.” There will always be those who believe that God is mean. We just do the best we can for them. Jesus also made it clear that the rich would find it difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven, similar to a camel going through the eye of a needle. It becomes our job to help these individuals discover a little practicality and humility, not to mention responsibility, along with their bounty. That’s what the middle class does in any society, whether it’s financial, emotional or spiritual.

And when you lose the middle class, you end up with a war between the poor and the rich—which always creates a horrible death toll.

Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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