Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No 'Undercaste' Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No 'Undercaste' Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

There are many homeless PEOPLE on the streets of my city. In an effort to increase understanding of their plight, there was a special participatory exhibit called "The Etiquette of the Undercaste." Friends and I took part.

I was asked to lie in a fake coffin, which was rolled through a wall from one side to the other; this represented the entrance into a new life as an "undercaste." Through the whole journey, I walked alone in an eerily dim space. I was led through the experiences of being battered, robbed, refused employment because of lack of education, and refused education because I was undercaste. I was made to feel helpless and hopeless; I landed in jail when I tried to steal at the grocery store; I frequented a flophouse; I got drunk along with other homeless people; I slept on a park bench.

Yes, those experiences were staged and fake. But at the same time they made me realize I have my own undercaste problems to resolve. I have battered myself with guilt. I have neglected my spiritual education. I have sojourned in the flophouse of self-depreciation and self-absorption. I have gotten drunk on the fads of materiality and slept on the bench of apathy. But when I've confronted these situations by turning to God, the result has been an uplifted view of myself that eliminates hopelessness. And I believe this points to how we can help those who face the real, day-to-day problems of life on the streets. No one is beyond feeling loved by God. Knowing God can end anyone's hopelessness. Genesis records two views of God's creation. In the first chapter, we are created in the image of God - "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (verse 31). The second chapter depicts an opposite, material concept of creation, in which man is formed from dust, and woman from man's rib; in which good and evil are at war, and alienation from our creator leads to curse, rejection, and deprivation - the "undercaste condition." Jesus Christ proved that the first view, in which God is Spirit and we are spiritual, is the authentic, true, healing view. Through the truth he taught, we can learn to see ourselves and everyone as transcending the material because each of us is in fact the expression, the image, of God, who is good. …

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