The knowledge of your own soul will compel you to move in a direction that is almost the exact opposite of American consumerism. Consumerism will not make you a whole person. Only subtraction will truly make you whole again. This is part of what Jesus meant when he urged us to take up the cross and follow him. You must learn to let go of all pretence, expose your false self to God and your closest friends and spiritual advisers and then seek the kind of understanding that breaks open your heart to God. If you take your personal self too seriously you will never get to this point in life. It is right to be sober and serious, in the right contexts, but genuinely unhealthy to be serious about the wrong things. You should take God very seriously but your opinions and insights are not all that important. Neither are mine if you wondered.

Richard Rohr, the contemplative Catholic teacher and writer, says, “In a certain sense we are on the utterly wrong track. We are climbing while Jesus is descending, and I think in that we reflect the pride and arrogance of Western civilization, always trying to accomplish, perform, and achieve. We transferred much of that to our version of Christianity and became spiritual consumers. The ego is still in charge. When the self takes itself that seriously, there’s no room left for God.”

In the light of my comments about leadership yesterday this is incredibly important stuff. I would suggest that leaders today have been taught how important they are at every turn. They were taught this as children, taught this in school and seminary and now believe it in their church vocation. As a result they have little room to laugh, play and think small thoughts about themselves. They also have too little room for God. Think about it.