With Jane Hayes
August 2021 Sermon Series
Aug. 1, 15, and 29
The Reverend Dr. Emily Melcher
There’s a Buddhist concept called “the near enemy” that refers to unhealthy psycho-spiritual states that masquerade as healthy or desirable ones: pity masquerades as compassion; attachment as love; indifference as equanimity. Canadian author Louise Penny employs this concept in her detective novel, “The Cruellest Month,” where it provides Inspector Gamache with essential clues in a murder case. This 3-part sermon series introduces the concept of the near enemy through the characters in Penny’s novel and illustrations that might come from any of our lives. SPOILER ALERT: The identity of the murderer will be revealed in the first sermon in the series!
Healthy attachment is a prerequisite to psychological well-being, but unhealthy attachment takes people hostage. In relationships of unequal power, the person with the greater power is obligated to see to the best interests of the other. Let’s explore what this means for relationships between parents and their children, therapists and their clients, and clergy and their congregations.