I could speak from what I am learning myself on my journey but these days it seems I am led more in the way of posting thoughts of other to express things that are stirring inside me.
I am more aware than ever of the drastically different spirit that runs the things I would call "Of this world" and the new reality demonstrated by Jesus and his community of disciples.
The social ethics of the world system, are far from what Jesus proclaimed. I believe our attempts to, clean it up and tweek it has just left us confused and delusional. We often live making decisions without considering the negative impact those decisions might be having on our "NEIGHBOR". And I mean "NEIGHBOR" as defined in scripture in the parable of the "Good Samaritan".
Here is an example of what I mean. I am going to continue this over the next few days. To do it all right now would cause my fingers to fall off.
This is from Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon
"It is important to recognize that all ethics, even non-Christian ethics, arise out of a tradition that depicts the way the world works, what is real, what is worth having, worth believing. Tradition is a function and a product of community. So all ethics, even non-Christian ethics, make sense only when embodied in a set of social practices that constitute a community. Such communities support a sense of right and wrong. Yet most modern ethics begin from the Enlightenment presupposition of the isolated, heroic self, the allegedly rational individual that stands alone and decides and chooses. The goal of this ethic is to detatch the individual from his or her tradition, parents, stories, community, and history, and thereby alow him or her to stand alone. It is an ethic of great value in our type of society because the corporation needs workers who are suitably detached from communities other than their work place, people who are willing to move at the beck and call of the corporation. Growing up, becoming a mature, functioning adult is thus defined as becoming someone who has no communal, traditional, familial impediments. This heroic, radically individual and subjective ethic was best articulated by Kant and survives today in perverted form in the so-called Contextual or Situation Ethics----as well as in the conventional ethical wisdom of the average person in our society. What I do is my own damn business. First be sure in your heart that you are right and then go ahead. I did it because it seemed right to me. What right do you have to judge me?
What we have failed to see is that even the Kantian ethic, based on the myth of the isolated, rational individual, arises out of a story, an account of the way the world works, and is backed up by a community. Individualistic, contextualist ethics is dependent on a "community" that exists by devaluing community and a "tradition" whose claim is that we become free by detaching ourselves from our tradition. The life together of the post-Kantian community begins, not by an anouncement of the inbreaking of God's kingdom, but rather by the proclamation that each of us is free to discover our own ethics for ourselves, to grow up and become adult---liberated, autonomous, detached, free individuals.
The Sermon implies that it is as isolated individuals that we lack the ethical and theological resources to be faithful disciples. The Christian ethical question is not the conventional Enlightenment question, How in the world can ordinary people like us live a heroic life like that? The question is, What sort of community would be required to support an ethic of nonviolence, marital fidelity, forgiveness, and hope such as the one sketched by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount?"