by Samuel Chiang
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I was in a store to purchase Christmas cards, after Christmas. The sale was on, but I couldn’t find the newly discounted price nor the original price. So, I walked over to a man who had a name tag. It turned out he was the store manager.
He was surprised that there were no prices listed. But he told me that if I buy all 17 boxes of Christmas cards, he would give them to me for $3 per box. Then, he hastened to say they were originally $12 and were discounted to $7 per box.
A quick calculation in my mind told me that this was an excellent bargain, and I would have spent less than what I had intended on forking out. However, I had a slight hesitation: it is not a great deal if I have to take boxes of cards that I do not want.
The store manager read my face and asked why I was hesitating. I told him I needed to see the cards. So, we walked back to the table where the deeply discounted boxes of cards were placed, all the while he was trying to sell me on all 17 boxes!
I carefully perused each box and the messages inside the card. He wanted to know why I was examining it so carefully. In fact, he suggested that I buy all the cards and I can resale and make a profit. I told him that I was looking for cards that had the word ‘Christmas’ within it, and that this messaging about Christmas was quite important to me.
This led us into a conversation about what I did and what he did. He had spent 30 years in the Navy, was posted all over the world with a special focus in the Middle East, and was a chaplain in the Navy.
We went deep very quickly into mutual experiences, and he talked about how often people wanted to deal with ‘soul’ matter (similar to a Wall Street Journal article which read, “Psychologists Should Not Ignore the Soul”).
Matters of the soul are not simple, and volumes have been written over the centuries. But it is a matter that is continually surfacing to the consciousness of every individual. Regardless of religious backgrounds, people want to know where their soul is going and what will happen to it.
Here is where the intersection of self-interest and spiritual conversation can meaningfully take place. However, unless we have prepared or experienced in working with our soul, we shall be less prepared to commence a caring conversation with others.
Even as we cross-over into a New Year, and in self-care for our own soul, have we forgiven what was done? Have we repented from what we must? Are we at war with our own vices?
May I submit to you that we are unable to commence the deepest part of a spiritual conversation without doing some hard work upon ourselves. GK Chesterton once said, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a New Year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”
How are you preparing yourself for the next spiritual conversation?
Samuel Chiang is president and CEO of The Seed Company. Born in Taiwan, he grew up and worked in Canada and formerly served as COO of TWR. He has authored book chapters in diverse genres including innovation, orality, and persecution.