‘Good’ is not the threshold
The Rev. Raymond Davis Jr., Greater Corinthian Church of Christ Non-Denominational, Kansas City, Mo.: In the gospels (Matthew 19:16-25), Jesus encounters a man inquiring about eternal life. He wanted to know what good thing he could do to have eternal life.
Being and doing good, being spiritual and religious, amounts to not enough to have eternal life, as the young man wanted. The question before us speaks to the desire to gain something that belongs to God — like eternal life, by doing something good.
Jesus gives a brief lesson on the word “good.” The meaning of a thing is greater than the thing itself. The meaning of good transcends the word itself. After a man called him Good Master, Jesus responded that “there is none good, but one, that is God.”
What is good enough and acceptable by God that a person have eternal life is the meaning of the great value and spiritual principle — faith. God — because of his deep love for us — wants us saved and able to enter into eternal life.
But it’s not by any good things we do, do we gain eternal life, rather, it is according to the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ unto all that believe.
Consider: “But God commendth his love toward us. … Christ died for us. We shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8, 10)
More find spirituality to be enough
Lama Chuck Stanford, spiritual director of the Rime Buddhist Center, Kansas City: It seems that more people today are recognizing the illogic of the multitude of religions that all claim to have the only truth. How can such different doctrines all be true? It is for this reason that more and more people are turning away from religion and identifying themselves as simply spiritual.
However, both spirituality and religion have in common the attempt to help connect the individual with that which we call “sacred.”
Religion attempts this through the building of beautiful cathedrals and elaborate rituals to help the practitioner connect with the sacred. But many people are beginning to recognize that the sacred can be found outside religion, too. How many of us have felt a connection with the sacred when listening to a beautiful piece of music, viewing a beautiful work of art, in a beautiful sunset or in children’s laughter?
From the Buddhist perspective the sacred is all around us, all of the time if we only take the time to experience it. For this reason, Buddhism places such a high value on mindfulness — or paying attention to the moment.
I think the 19th century author and poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox said it best when she said, “So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs.”