Spiritual Conflict in the Everyday: Power, Relationships, Suburbia, Art and Death

…a beginning

We rail against suburbia, but it is not the enemy: it is only our version of the enemy. And “enemy” is not even the right word for it, this unseen power we feel over and around us, pushing us from behind into the crowd, or a dark pit, the fall and the feel of the bottom we know and dread.

Selfishness has gone global. Europeans import our political and financial clouting, covering their moves with their historical sly grin and sideways step. We import their philandering, covering it up with a sheen of Biblical adjectives and calls to war.

The West consumes and pollutes more only because we can. The Third World aspires to our gluttony, dreams of our geo-politico-historical good fortune. We look on with a tear not quite falling from our eye and say, “God has blessed us, let us beacon freedom and democracy.”

Every day we die a little more, but never enough to change. Our daily destruction takes place in the malls, on the freeways, in the megaplexes and megachurches where we are reminded that we are not rich enough, not fast enough, not beautiful enough, and not morally perfected enough to call ourselves a Generation, to fight our Great War, to hold our High Office, to have our sway, our turn at bat.

So we attack the cool de sac, the SUV, the Sunday-school teacher, the overweight woman ordering a number five, super-sized.

But it is not this accumulation of small deaths. It is how the small deaths prevent any real death at all. They are in fact small taxes paid to the god of ourselves, so that we may never have to face a God of us all. They are sidesteps, diversions, truths we tell ourselves, careers, gourmet dinners, anonymous sexual encounters.

And the more we rail, and the more we divert, and the more we wield our wild power over others, the more we begin to enter this game first cheering, then standing, then fighting with the other side–the side of the dead but never dying, the undead.