Spiritual materialism attempts to manipulate
supernatural forces to fulfil our selfish desires.
Through sacrament, donation or sacrifice,
we try to placate the gods
to get what we want through a spiritual covenant
to see our behaviour reflected in divine response.

Such idolatry is prevalent in the church
both in its liturgy and in its thinking
for we shall conquer in the name of Jesus!
We pray - to assure our comfort, or another's.
We confess - so that our sins may be forgiven.
We look forward to a life of comfort and bliss
as a reward for our faithfulness.

To abandon our selfishness would be to give up
the specious promise of an afterlife
in which our faithfulness is rewarded.
A truly redeemed human wouldn't need an arena,
in which to imagine all acquisitive desires
being wholy slaked, even after death.

Such longing for supernatural rewards
make a mockery of the true sacrifice of Christ.
The salvation that Christ proclaimed
was about finding a way to live
that keeps faith with goodness and love
even when faced by the direst situation.


The ordinary secular virtues of self-confidence,
fairness, good judgement, and so on,
take life on its own unredeemed terms
and make the most of it.

The theological virtues (faith, hope, love)
are not merely intensifications of ordinary virtue,
but conditions of a transformed or redeemed life.

There is no redemption without transformation,
and that transformation is our ability to live holy lives;
that redemption is our capacity to find fulfillment in this life,
rather than any change in a presumptive post-death existence.

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