Apr 30, 2014

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MEDITATION: The cost of living

MEDITATION: The cost of living

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited (Romans12:16)

The other day a found a small piece of paper that someone once handed me.

It contains a quote from a book by the well known Indian author Arundhati Roy called “The Cost of Living.” Roy won the sought after Booker Prize at a relatively young age for her gripping book, “A God of small things”.

“The Cost of Living” consists of two articles in which she criticizes big companies, especially her own government, for the way their policies and acts ignore and undermine the lives and interests of ordinary citizens.

Her pronounced and harsh criticism has made her a highly controversial figure in her own country today.

On a positive note the book deals with the art and the cost of living. It points to the different gifts of life, but also the responsibilities they involve.

The referred to quote is moving and challenging. It goes as follows:

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

Her plea for authentic living alludes to certain values of the Christian gospel – values like love, respect, humility, beauty, mindfulness, discernment, honesty, the struggle for justice etc. These are all values that our society desperately needs and longs for today.

Arundhati Roy knows the cost and sacrifices of such a life. Most probably it relates to her own upbringing in the Christian tradition. In a way her plea can therefore be seen as a call and challenge to make our own faith more real and concrete – to fully live according to our confession as Christians.

Carel Anthonissen

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