Written by Daniel Hazard
"Agrippa said to Paul, 'You have permission to speak for yourself.'" from Acts 26:1-11
What would happen if the King gave us a chance to defend ourselves? Lyndon Johnson famously said, when told to stop arguing for civil rights, "What's a President for?" He meant to answer the question the late Bill Coffin posed to tenured professors: what is tenure for? Many pastors ask also: what is our authority for?
Religious people have one answer; spiritual people another. Both are right. Neither will arrive at their best funeral ever, until they shake hands and make peace. How do you arrive at the best funeral ever - your own? You arrive by living your best life ever. The afterlife may be more similar to the biological life than we think. They are a flow, one from the other. Living your best life - not Joe's or Jane's, Mom's or Dad's - is our best guarantee of placing well in the funeral competition. That competition, by the way, is between your best self, and your timid one. Personal best is what athletes call it.
Religious people say we live to be saved. We maintain institutions that help us get salvation right. Spiritual people say we live to be authentic, to not lie about the big things like God and death and meaning. Both are right. The best way to defend ourselves from the kings is to marry individual authenticity to real community, the one we belong to now, prepared for us by our ancestors, being prepared for our children. Don't you wish you knew what your life was for - so that without fear, you could tell the king, should he ask?
Help us marry our inner selves and outer connections. Tether one to another, and each to each, so that kings may topple and Spirit thrive.