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In the Personal Form, on the other hand, individuals do not get away with moral transgressions. Their personal approach to life is colored not by materialism but by core spiritual ethics and values. The Person is elevated above the commodity and not vice-versa.
Prayer is also made communal: as such prayer has the power to transform not just the individual but the community as a whole. Moreover, the prayer is not about the individual but it is about the common Christian values of the community. Prayer is made public because the individual is empowered in the Personal Form. The Commodity Form devalues human dignity by denying spiritual presence altogether. In response, the Personal Form elevates human dignity to the extent that Prayer becomes a major mode of communication and change. Similarly, Catholic sacraments are woven into the community structure in the Personal Form, imbuing spiritual rituals and religious rites with a value that transcends commodification. Faith and society are no longer mutually exclusive; they are naturally inclusive and interrelated. They engage in an ongoing dialectic, notes the author (p. 175).
4.Talk about a theme/issue that discusses or reflects what Kavanaugh talks and calls personal form. (p.147-176)
One of the major conflicts within any Christian is how to mediate the Commodity Form with the Personal Form. Do the two overlap, or is there an evolutionary process by which the Commodity Form becomes the Personal Form? When Christians or any group of like-minded individuals vow to create a community based on humanitarian values, they risk isolating themselves from the world they are endeavoring to help. The risk can and should be minimized by finding creative ways of integrating the Personal Form into the Commodity Form, changing the nature of the latter with the spiritual strength of the former.
For example, a group of Christians can participate in the Commodity Form without subscribing to the Commodity Form values. Starting a company or a school are ways Christians can accomplish such a goal. Christian rock is another way the Personal Form can supplant the Commodity Form without needing to drop out of the world entirely. Learning how to integrate humanitarian values into the dominant materialistic culture is challenging, but not impossible.
Kavanaugh refers to the lack of "vision of community life" as another challenge facing Christians. The Personal Form depends on a cohesive group consciousness. All members of the community must be on the same page regarding ethical accountability and ultimate goals. Thus, the Personal Form must allow for a high degree of flexibility and plurality. The pitfalls of the Personal Form is creating too strong of an in-group/out-group consciousness that excludes individuals from various religious backgrounds who might still share the same values and goals. While Christians devoted to the Gospels and/or to the Catholic sacraments must bond together due to their shared values and beliefs, there is no reason why non-Christians cannot do the same. The Personal Form is not dependent on Christianity even though Christianity might best voice, embody or symbolize it.
Working the Personal Form into the Commodity Form requires foresight as well as vigilance. Being willing to confront friends and family members takes courage, perhaps more courage than it takes to petition the government or protest in the streets. Civil dissent is sometimes much easier than dissenting family members. Therefore, individuals who are willing participants in small spiritually-minded communities must take care to navigate through tricky social situations that bring the Commodity Form and the Personal Form face-to-face. The transformation in society will take time; it would be impossible to replace the Commodity Form with the Personal Form and therefore members of the Christian community need to first focus on their personal ethics via self-scrutiny.
If judging individuals by their perceived ability to make money is the essential feature of the Commodity Form, then judging individuals by their character is the core feature of the Personal Form. However, Christians must take care not to judge individuals by anything less than their intrinsic value as a human being. Compassion, love, and faith are the final and ultimate benchmarks by which we can evaluate individuals and ideas. What is most important in the Personal Form is maintaining a humanitarian outlook on life; anything that falls short must be extricated from the model. The Personal Form by definition is not based on competition or conflict but on unity, inclusiveness, love, and humility.
Kavanaugh, John F. Following Christ…[continue]
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