I don’t intend this article to preach to you because nobody likes a blunt force preach about something they don’t altogether agree with. This is why often there is quite a backlash about “A” list Hollywood stars talking about Religion or Politics because we want them to be a blank slate. If we know they put their name to something we don’t agree with, that taints our relationship with them.
Karma, A pause from the ordinary
I’m an Anglican, Church of England Protestant. That’s me. I don’t go to church so that might in some way infer that I don’t practice (but I take it with me a bit like a snail takes its home on its back). I’d like to think if pressed I’m a good Christian.
I believe in reincarnation, mostly because I have a strong feeling I was somebody else before this life. Reincarnation has something to do with Christianity but it is not exactly a religious fit. It’s more a separate belief because you believe in reincarnation without being religious. Basically I believe my soul, or a facet of it, was second-hand. I have a vivid calling to South America even though I’ve never been there. On rare occasions I get flashes of being on top of a sacrificial altar on a South American Ziggurat (one of those cool ass square pyramids). I know it sounds crazy but I believe I either was sacrificed or was the honcho behind that sacrifice and that image has been burned into my soul.
Getting to the nub of this particular article I believe in Karma. Karma is more a part of eastern religion, central to many Asian beliefs but I feel it is a great fit with Christianity. You basically have two flavours of Karma, good and bad or if you want to look at it more scientifically, positive and negative. If you look at Karma in the latter way you could argue that whilst positive Karma might have a good outcome, it may not necessarily be good for everyone and vice versa with the negative side. By sending out good Karma you hope to receive that in return, or at least balance out any negative Karma you may have generated.
Reciprocity (getting back what you give)
Many people who exist within social media try to depend on “reciprocity”, the reciprocal return of a deed well done. In basic terms, being thanked for helping, by being given something of even or uneven weight in return.
Why am I mentioning this Karma?
I was out and about on Sunday in a coastal town known entirely as Worthing. The UK is experiencing some glorious summer weather at the moment (possibly the best I can remember bar one year where the council had to water a great many trees). Worthing is a coastal town with a pier, tons of shops in a rather well situated shopping centre and a good vibe. There were a lot of people out on Sunday and I was with a friend on a merry walk around the place.
Part way through this walk I caught someone out of the corner of my eye with a bicycle. This person was a middle aged bohemian looking (that’s code for great unwashed) woman. The particular thing that caught my attention was the fact that she looked utterly miserable, on the verge of crying. She had spotted that I had noticed her and started giving me a sob story but something in me decided that this wasn’t worth the listen and I marched on. My friend did the same and didn’t challenge me not stopping, in fact they did the exact same. I made a comment, “Yet another Random” before moving on.
This incident lodged in my memory though.
I felt some guilt that I hadn’t been more Christian in my sympathy.
Putting myself in that person’s shoes I would have been even more miserable if someone had just blanked me like that, if I had genuinely been upset, that is.
The turn of the knife
My parents have pre-conditioned myself and my sister to stay clear of these types for many reasons. The top two include; personal safety being at the top, followed by the knowledge that if this person is an alcoholic or drug addict, I’d simply be fueling their suffering. There is also that point of thought that if you keep supporting those people with the begging bowls, you would drown in bowls eventually.
I made a split second decision, I chose no. Don’t bug me on my day off. Bug somebody else.
She could have been putting it on. That’s what I told myself… But as you can guess, I still have some doubt there.
My Karma serving was somewhat delivered in reverse. I was feeling awful that day because I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to another stinking migraine. It took me until 10am to shake it after 2 rather vocal vomits. I was still feeling as sick as a dog on my drive to Worthing, I’d only had two fingers of a KitKat to resemble breakfast and lunch because I was too nauseous to go for anything besides liquid. Obviously I didn’t drive with the full-blown headache and light sensitivity (because that would have been stupid). Needless to say someone was not looking out for me on Sunday.
I have noticed that charities have had to try harder to earn their crust nowadays. There have been a recent spate of stories on the news and on special programs like Panorama about how charity money is not really going to the people who need it most. This, among a series of other factors, has caused a slump in takings and some charities have taken a hit from a surge in people not consigning their tributes to the cause.
The sheer amount of charity is staggering in the UK. We have an industry for it almost. There are many charities that feel very corporate and take big cuts of that charity income to spend on expensive advertising campaigns and other frills. There could be claims of misappropriation, of cloaking as a goodwill but coining in on the cause.
Other than just sheer number, many people have grown thicker skins to the over-exposure of crisis on the television and on the internet. We grow somewhat weary of appeals when we are suffering financial crisis in our own land. We are kind of wondering when someone is going to start giving back to us.
Reasons to doubt validity:
Britain operates with a class system. It is still here but it has fragmented quite a lot from the time before the 1st world war.
You still have:
But you get a few things in between:
- Upper Class Old money
- Upper Class New money
- Upper Middle Class
- Middle Class
- Lower Middle Class
- Working class
- Benefit class aka non-working class
- Common or garden vagrant (shiftless character of ill intent)
Because we are the 6th richest country in the world and because we now work towards a more service based industry having no big stake in manufacturing or minerals, we have a somewhat uneven proportion of classes and they have blended somewhat.
It can often become difficult to determine the origin of someone from a specific class based on what they look like, we’ve had a few MPs (members of parliament) who’ve dressed like bag men and ladies in the past, so how people dress bears no semblance to where they fit in that fragmented picture.
There are many cases of middle class people, dressing up like homeless people, making a lot of money from begging in London. Organised crime makes a lot of money from begging rackets and fake charity collections. There is a whole industry based around fakery and hoodwinking.
Was I a bad person for blanking that woman? Did I deserve my slice of negative Karma in reverse? Am I guilty? Will Jesus be taking one Jesus point off my tally? What’s your thought? Similar story? Similar guilt pang?