We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From Justification, Sanctification, and Grace, from Dr. Bob:
I recall a conversation I had some years ago with a young man in Britain, in the old Compuserve forum days. He, an atheist/agnostic, said something to the effect of, "All religions are the same, there's basically a set of rules to follow, and if you obey them, you get rewarded by going to heaven."
And I agreed with him (to his surprise) with one caveat: that Christianity is the one exception to his otherwise astute observation. In Christianity, it's not about doing something different, it's about being something different.
So how does that work? And aren't Christians all about being good, following the Bible, going to church, and condemning and judging those who don't?
Yeah, all too often we are. Sad but true. But that's not really how it's supposed to work, you know.
Christianity is not merely another framework of moral codes by which to live. It is not comprised solely of the teachings of a charismatic leader, urging compliance to please or placate God or promulgating some hidden wisdom. It asserts at its very heart an outrageous claim: that those who relinquish their right to self-centered autonomy by submitting to God through the specific and exclusive portal of Christ will become judicially guiltless before their Creator. It further claims, perhaps even more outrageously, by this act to re-create the person so submitting, in a manner so thorough and profound that the individual can no longer be thought of as the same person who existed prior to that moment of choice and submission.
Good stuff. Preaching to the choir, in my case. But pondering today what male female differences might make in this process.
Because I am on the way to zoo with family, am thinking of how differently male and female animals handle dominance and submission in the life of a pack or troupe, and how this might play out spiritually in the life of female humanoids. My hunch is that we females are never content with following anyone or anything's lead for long. Whereas most men I know seem more at peace with a legitimate authority, once they have acknowledged it. But we females always want to be #1. Why else would the church try to get us to swear obedience on our wedding day? Spiritually, many of us outwardly comply with but attempt to manipulate God, as if he were a tyrannical but needed spouse or father. A kind of enablement that has little to do with the radical, transforming love of Jesus! My nun friends have told me of their devotion to Christ as a spirital bridegroom, and they seem closer to the right path [pop psychologists please do not jeer at what you do not understand or merely sexualize it]. To approach God trembling with longing, fear, hope and the knowledge that life will never be the same.
Thanks for posting those long-forgotten thoughts. I am often surprised that I wrote such things -- perhaps it borders on inspiration at some level. Better to experience grace than exercise pointless effort
Christianity has never been about working your way to heaven. You're either the thief on the left or the thief on the right. One thief asked for mercy from Jesus and got it. The other thief cursed Jesus and rejected him. When you die you're either a forgiven thief or an unforgiven thief.