Yessss. I really enjoyed this. As someone who was brought up loosely culturally Christian, but has never spiritually identified with it (I actually do a bit these days), this article meant a lot to me. Honestly, Zealot by Reza Aslan sold me on Jesus — I hadn’t known anything about the historical Jesus of Nazareth, and while the book has its detractors, the kind of Jesus Aslan paints in it is someone I can get behind and strive to emulate: a poor dirty homeless spiritual rebel anti-imperialist activist who advocated for a revolution of love through practicing compassion, loving kindness, non-judgment, and turning over capitalists’ tables while preaching to them about their own hypocrisy. Jesus was the 0AD version of an economic justice activist disrupting a shareholder’s meeting. Like, Jesus is my dude.
Anyways, to the point, I feel like something similar is happening with Westernized Eastern spirituality (Buddhism and Hinduism in particular). They’re becoming so commercialized and pop that the actual teachings that underpin them are being swept aside in favor of things like lunchtime mindfulness meditations at work or 25 new poses to unlock the power of your pelvis. I don’t (admittedly, try not to) judge those who practice “superficial” spirituality, but I don’t think you need to accept any deeper spirit to make your spiritual practice more than superficial. For me, I practice my spirituality through political organizing. To me, anarcho-socialism is not separate from my spiritual views, and advocating for a world of equitable power, sharing and cooperation, mutual aid, free association and genuinely consensual social relationships is the most loving manifestation of my spirituality I can embody. Bringing to birth a new world in the shell of the old, a world where many worlds fit. I think it’s kind of bizarre, though emotionally understandable, when anyone spiritual, Christian, “new-age” or otherwise, only applies love halfway — to whatever that person conceives of God and to the self and family, but not to society as a whole and to our social structures.
TL;DR: Love your debtors.