Christians and Karma

chutesladders.gif

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. –Proverbs 11:24-25

Ever say things like, “Well, you get what you deserve”, or “These are my past deeds coming back to haunt me”, or “I must have been really bad in a past life?”  I say this stuff, too, sometimes.

Maybe we would make good Hindus, or Buddhists.  Words like these reflect an ancient concept present in both of those religions, called Karma.

Karma is the idea that your good and bad deeds will reward or punish you in the life to come.    There’s something about the notion of Karma, with its multiple lifetimes and black-or-white morality that can be very alluring to us as Christians.

I’ll find myself playing the Karma game when things go wrong.  I’ll think, “I deserve to be punished like this.  I wasn’t faithful enough before.”   As if Karma somehow evens things out.  I’ve heard other people say, “There’s equal amounts of Good and Evil in the world, and this is just the Devil getting his due.”

This is all kind of a Westernized view of Karma.  The Hindu and Buddhist concepts are much more nuanced, I’m sure.  But when Christians think in terms of Karma, they run the risk of ignoring Christ, which is a shame, because Christ plays by far better rules:

  • Christ offers GraceEven when we don’t deserve it!
  • Christ offers Eternal Life present with God.
  • Christ offers Goodness that forever tips the scales against evil.
  • Christ offers Companionship when the road is hard,
    Second Chances when we mess up, and a
    Reason for Living that is so much more than simple spiritual accounting.

Even though there are passages, like the one from Proverbs, that can make it sound like the Bible is talking about Karma, ultimately they refer to a God who is an ever-present blessing to us, in good times and bad.  We believe that, because of God, the universe is fundamentally skewed towards Grace.

Instead of trying to win at life, as if it’s some cosmic game of Chutes and Ladders,  Christians are called to boldly take every step–even the hard ones, because their path is illuminated by the Light of Christ.

Personally, I think Karma is a pretty interesting idea.  I’ve even wondered about past lives and reincarnation from time to time.  Hinduism and Buddhism both have a great many things to offer and teach us.

But I’ve got no plans to change my colors and abandon Christianity.

Which means, I’m definitely not a…

d59ce44e6caf7323d2b5543598dcbe0e0a16814edb26cea13bfb56f9bc63f0fa

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

38 MILLION.

0c23a33da15d782027dcda6ed306db9d

Did you hear that sound?

It was as if 38 million people had all uttered a string of expletives at the same instant.

Could such a thing be possible?

Yes indeed.  That’s not your imagination.  It’s the sound of 38 million Ashley Madison customers finding out their private accounts just became public.

By now, most have heard about this dubious website.  It was designed to be a discreet, anonymous place to set up an illicit affair.

Kind of a Match.com for people who had already been matched.

Government employees, that Duggar family creep, even a Christian video blogger have all been caught up in this scandal, and there are plenty more to come.

38 million.  That’s a lot of spouses about to be kicked out on the street.

Let’s see.  How many people is that, exactly?

Well, I did a search for “38 million” and here’s what I found from Yahoo News back in May:

Geneva (AFP) – Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people inside their own countries, equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday.

Oh wait.  That’s an altogether different group of 38 million displaced people.

Hmm.  Who should we pray for?  The innocent victims of war and violence — losing their homes, their possessions, and their jobs?

Or should we pray for the not-at-all-innocent folks who tried to sneak around their marriage vows, and got caught?

I’m gonna pray for both.

One group has been horribly mistreated.  One group may get what they deserve.

But now’s as good a time as any to remember

that Grace is available…

no matter the state of your affairs.

Have a great week,

Mitch

fbef88eda32feec3d7d8fe253bf46291f25ab6d9