Chicken or the Egg

My friend Tom tells the story of the Sufi elder who asked the disciples to name what was the more important quality in life: wisdom or action. “Its action, of course,” the disciples said, The elder retorted, “but of what use is action that proceeds from an unenlightened heart?” Or to put it another way , busyness alone is not enough to qualify us a spiritual. We must be busy about the right things.

Tom’s story reminds me of the early Christian debates that continue about what is more important belief or good works. We can spend a lot of time debating the issue or put our time to more productive use. Lent begins next week and The Pew will expand to six days a week during the Lenten season. We won’t spend much time debating the age old question, but instead spend some time exploring how to live a spiritual life in our own times. Hopefully we can gain new wisdom to determine what we must be and do in the midst of these times. I hope you will join with the Pew in this Lenten Journey.

Please feel free to read the daily meditation and comment. If you want to remain anonymous simply post your comment with such a notation and I’ll make sure to protect the identity of the commenter.  The readers of the Pew are a unique community and if all you do is read the meditation and pass it on to friends that’s fine. But, please feel free to leaven my feeble attempts.

I leave you with another story that should give you some idea about my Lenten plans for the Pew. The story comes from the early desert monastics. Abba John prayed to God to take his passions away so he might be free from care. He said, “In fact, I now find myself in total peace, without an enemy.” But, Abba Poeman said to him, “ Really? Well in that case, go and beg God to stir up warfare within you again, for its by warfare that the soul makes progress.”

We are not meant to be long-distance observers of life. We are to give ourselves to the shaping of it, however difficult that may be in this day and age. Lent is the season to stir the pot and bring spice to our soul. Join the community and invite your friends. W.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

1 Comment +

  1. Dear Webb,
    I’m a little late in posting this, but your comment about God needing to “stir up warfare within us” reminded me of a Hafiz poem I read recently. Hafiz was a 14th Century sufi poet and spiritual leader. Many of his poems are humorous. He wrote:

    How long will you remain content
    Just to hear and tell stories of what happens
    Beyond your horizons,

    Where the courageous had no choice but
    to live their ideals and imbibe effulgence’s shape?

    Restless and a lack of peace can play
    a vital part in your inner unfoldment.

    If you ever become too complacent, too
    accepting of your sorrow or shadow self,

    the moon might fling a beehive into your
    undies and that should wake you up.

    Your friend

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