Peter Kreeft, theologian extraordinaire (probably the top pop-culture Catholic theologian alive today), just finished a book about what advice he would like to pass on to his kids before he dies. In a column about the book, he took the time to rank his allegiances, as I did a few weeks ago. Of course his are better than mine, namely because they are personal:
- The most important person is God. This is as necessarily true as 2 + 2 = 4. It is true whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. So you’d better learn to know it and like it and believe it.
- The second most important person in the world is the person you marry. Nobody else comes even close. That’s what marriage is. If you don’t know that, you’re not really married.
- Next come your kids.
- Then comes yourself. Take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else except your kids, your spouse, and your God. Because if you don’t inflate your own oxygen mask first, you won’t be able to help others inflate theirs.
- Then comes your friends. Never betray a friend.
- Then comes everyone else you know, your neighbors.
- Then comes the rest of the world.
- Then comes things, any and all things: money, the things money can buy – houses, cars, and vacations. Stuff (Remember George Carlin’s routine about “stuff.”) Always, people before things. Use things and love people, not vice versa.
- Finally, abstractions: ideas, causes, organizations, political parties, etc. They are means to the rest as ends. By the way, the Church is not an “organization,” it’s a family. I never saw “organized religion,” only disorganized religion, like Noah’s ark.
It is funny that people can say things I believe better than I can…