About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Say no!

This Sunday is the last service in our series based on Mahatma Gandhi's Seven Blunders of the World. The last blunder is “Politics without Principle.” Allow me to share a personal memory. Although it is distant in time, space, culture and political system, I believe it is relevant.
    Just days after I submitted my application to seminary in 1984, I was picked up from my high school class by two secret policemen for interrogation. Soon I realized that they were not after dissuading me from following my call. They wanted to turn me into their informer, someone whom they could assign to spying on my future fellow seminarians, teachers, and later on, my future colleagues in ministry, and even active lay leaders of the church...
    I was not at all interested or frightened enough to become their spy, and so they tried all different tricks, they were sweet and they were nasty, they promised things and hinted at some blurred dark threats (fuzzy threats are always more “effective”), they tried to trick me and they tried to blackmail me. And all that time in my mind I sang to myself that old yet aptly appropriate spiritual/blues “Say no to the Devil, SAY NO!”
    Thankfully, after several more unpleasant interrogations, they gave up. I was about 18 at that time, but I heard the call to be a pastor and not a snitch. Those were my first early, direct, practical lessons on keeping my integrity. Soon afterwards I read with appreciation and understanding a theoretical essay “The Power of the Powerless” by Vaclav Havel. The essay analyzed an abusive totalitarian system of morally corrupted and morally corrupting power. And he outlined strategies of new, non-political politics rooted in what he so nicely called “Life in Truth.”
    We do not live any longer in the bipolar world of the late 70s and early 80s. Strangely, as the world became more complicated, the borderline between right and wrong grew more blurred and less certain; “living in truth” is not any easier. Yet, whenever I get disgusted with politics, or feel betrayed by politicians, or feel powerless in making this world a little better place (quite often recently), I remember that the power of the powerless is real and it always starts at the ground level, with me, with us, with my and our integrity, with us living in truth.

And here is a snapshot from my personal Samizdat copy of The Power of the Powerless in Czech. It was typed by several of my friends in the 80s using carbon paper and making 15 copies at a time. This is a part from the end of the essay, Havel quotes Martin Heidegger and writes about a need for new form of “existential revolution” and expresses his hope in moral reconstruction of the post-industrialized society. After he, almost miraculously, became the Czech president, he tried and failed to make this dream a reality.
I still think that this need for moral, existential transformation of politics and social life is still present, even more so now at the beginning of XXI. century than in the last quarter of the XX. century.

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