Friday, December 1, 2017

Beginning ~ in the ghetto

Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America ~ by Chris Hedges, 2005
"I stand across from the Mission Main and Mission Extension Housing Project in Roxbury on a muggy July night.  Scattered streetlights cast out dim yellow arcs on Parker Street.  The remaining slate-gray metal poles, with their lamps shattered by rocks, leave the strip of asphalt gap toothed, with lonely outposts of pale spotlights and long stretches of darkness.  The unlit stretches are uncharted oceans of fear.  They are filled with dangers imagined and real.  At night, in the ghetto, I cling to light."
Here are the ten commandments, plus the epilogue, from the table of contents:
Decalogue I ~ Mystery
Decalogue II ~ Idols
Decalogue III ~ Lying
Decalogue IV ~ The Sabbath
Decalogue V ~ The Family
Decalogue VI ~ Murder
Decalogue VII ~ Adultery
Decalogue VIII ~ Theft
Decalogue IX ~ Envy
Decalogue X ~ Greed
Epilogue ~ Love
Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and Harvard Divinity School graduate, explores the challenge of living according to these ten moral precepts we have tried to follow, often unsuccessfully, for the past 6,000 years.  The commandments, he writes, do not save us from evil.  Instead they save us from committing evil.  He illustrates how the commandments usually choose us ― and how we are rarely able to choose them.  We cannot protect ourselves from theft, greed, adultery, or envy, nor from the impulses that lead us to commit evil acts.  In honoring the commandments, we free ourselves from self-worship and are called back to the healing solidarity of community.  It is in the self-sacrifice championed by the commandments that integrity, commitment, and, finally, love are made possible.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

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