Support the Café

Search our Site

From the Daily Sip: Christian Karma?

From the Daily Sip: Christian Karma?

by Charles LaFond


Being kind feels important to me these days.  My dog and my horse are kind to me.  Karma has many definitions and is generally associated with Buddhism, however I wonder about the great value it could provide to our Christian conversation.


It is true that when we ask for forgiveness, God grants it and wipes the slate clean.  The chalkboard of slate in which additions and subtractions for our failures and our successes is wiped clean, black, glistening.  This Santa-Clause-list kind of God may have worked for me when I was a child, but it no longer feels compelling.  I no longer feel that I get pluses for going to church and minuses for telling a fib to get out of going to a dinner.


Karma is about effect from action but it is a little less about mathematics and a little more about the kinds of effects our lives are having on the planet.  If I eat Tilapia or Catfish then I am eating a protein that is easy on the planet and takes months to grow.  If I eat Tuna or Grouper or shark-fin , I am eating a fish growing towards extinction and which takes years to grow.


In Buddhism, Karma is about the Heaven and Hell we are creating here, now, on this planet and in this life.  We come from a Christina faith in which, until recently, one could do whatever one wanted as long as they “paid the price” by making confession and a huge pledge to the church’s building fund.  But is that really the way we need to live?  What if we, especially in Lent, let go of the math of Heaven and Hell, of sin and redemption, of going to church or playing with our children on the carpet with pancakes and cartoons?


There was a time when I was going to church and praying to God because I wanted to be saved.  I am less afraid of going to Hell now that I have had lots of experience in it.  People will still go to church, but only to the compelling and vibrant ones…the rest of them need to die off.  Will that make many clergy and Bishops unemployed?  Sure. But the ones with real skill-sets will find real jobs.


As for church attendance, nowadays, I am more inclined to get more sleep, work harder at being kind to people, be rather more gentle with myself. A bath.  A hamburger. A chocolate brownie. A massage.  A movie with a friend. Is God more pleased with my attendance at church than God is pleased with these lovely acts of incarnation? I attended a church two weeks ago that took weekly attendance… Hmm. Anxious anyone?


Could we Christians simply make better choices and ignore the “Naughty & Nice” lists of a God who made sense when we were in second grade?


As I write this I am eating a great hamburger.  Afterwards Kai-the-dog and I will go for a walk in the desert.  Then a tour of our homeless shelter with a major donor and then dinner with friends.  Could it be that “church’ is melting away and giving way to a larger awareness of sacramentality and incarnation outside of dogma and catechism? Is that such a bad thing when you look at church history?


Charles LaFond is an Episcopal Priest, master potter and the author of three books on church fundraising, major gifts and Rule of Life; living in rural New Mexico as a writer, blogger (  ), and consultant. Charles is a fundraiser for those experiencing homelessness.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café