Karma Police

is probably my favorite Radiohead song.  I remember the first time I saw/heard it on MTV back in the day.  It sounded right.

So I was working in the yard the other day and thinking about it.  There’s this Christian concept of Grace, right, very Pauline, very Lutheran, which Bono says is the opposite of Karma.  Karma is about the balance sheets and Grace is supposed to be about ripping them up.  But I think a lot of people who say they believe in Grace really just use it to reset their Karma.  There’s no freedom in it for them.  Grace cleans them up for the moment and then they inevitably fuck up and there’s all that guilt.  All that having to make things right…not because you owe it to people you hurt (sure, you do), but because you’re thinking somewhere about the kickback.  I think it’s tough to know if your piety is piety out of reverence for God or piety for the sake of keeping your karmic shit together.  I wonder if you can know.

If Grace is real, it makes Karma unintelligible, doesn’t it?  Yet I’m willing to bet that most people who say they believe in Grace live like they’re bound by Karma. Can one be bound by Grace?  I’m not sure that makes sense.

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2 Comments

  1. Heavy post. For what it’s worth, I’ve known a few saints in my past who were so consumed by Love & Grace that they appeared to be freed from any bondage to the concept of karma. I think they’d struggle to relate to your post. My perception of them was that Love & Grace motivated contrition & restitution, not a fear of kickback.

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