I follow Keith Giles on Twitter (btw: follow me!!) and he shared this article that he wrote: I Am A Self-Righteous Pharisee. I identify with so many elements of his initial story. I was called a pharisee along with a barrage of expletives.
The “logic” is simple enough:
- you are a pharisee because you disagree with me or my agenda,
- Jesus hates pharisees,
- therefore I can hate you, or worse, “it is my religious duty to hate you”, and I can behave in an unChristian manner towards you.
I was struck by this paragraph that nicely summaries it:
Knowing the truth isn’t the same as doing it. Being a Christian isn’t only about what you believe, it’s actually more about what you do with the things you say you believe.
The followers of Jesus are called to love without holding back. This love is so radical that even enemies, those that hate us, are objects of love. Loving faith in Jesus is actualised in compassion and empathy. And, yes, I do that so poorly!!!!
I need to reflect more on it all.
For people are willing enough to practice compassion and self-denial, willing enough to seek after wisdom etc., but they want to determine the criterion themselves, that it shall be to a certain degree. They do not wish to do away with all these glorious virtues; on the contrary, they want – at a cheap price – to have as comfortably as possible the appearance of and the reputation for practicing them. Therefore as soon as the true divine compassion appears in the world it is unconditionally the sacrifice. It comes out of compassion for people, and it is people who trample it down.Practice in Christianity, 60 (Hong)
Compassion on my terms? Is that compassion or self-validation? Compassion is love in action – love for neighbour actualised.
I am dreading the Easter sermon farmed in legal terms – Jesus took the punishment for my sin. An angry God that needs to be satisfied – a holy distant God that is offended at my sin and fallenness so He sacrifices His own Son. Not the Loving Father who cries with me and feels my pain – who has compassion on my weakness and wants a relationship with me in His Son. A relationship that is truely human!
I would like to explore preaching in a modern context from a Kierkegaardian point of view, if I had the time. Most of the preaching I have heard is average at best, simple battle of authorities, or spoon feeding. The academic lecture explaining doctrine is my least favourite form of preaching! I once heard a preacher, in a parish setting, parse a greek verb during his sermon. And there is no need to explore every point of the text. I think Show, don’t tell is a good summary of the type of sermon I would like to hear.
Anyway, here is a Kierkegaard quote:
I stumbled across this link on Twitter and was struck by these paragraphs:
The lesson Merton derives from the liturgy at Corpus Christi is that “it is not the style that matters but the spirit,” and he illustrates the difference between the old spirit and the new with a series of dichotomies: “Is Christian worship to be communion in correctness or communion in love? Oneness in Law or oneness in Christ? Sharing in valid sacraments or in the Spirit of life that is in the Risen Savior?” While the laws of the church are important, we must “learn to participate in a free, open, joyous communion of love and praise.”
Merton’s exhortation to love, and even more importantly, his example of liturgical openness to others rooted in an ecclesiology of communion, remains important today as we continue to squabble about the liturgy and about a myriad of other issues: “Let us frankly realize that our task is precisely this: to demonstrate our elementary charity and unselfishness – indeed our Christian maturity – by setting aside our own preferences (whether progressive or conservative) in order to arrive at some working formula by which we can all continue to worship as one in Christ.”Communion of Love: Thomas Merton and Liturgical Reform by Gregory K. Hillis
A magnificent article to be printed and pondered.
I just wanted to share this article from Philosophy Now (the only magazine for which I have a subscription):
I was especially struck by the section with the heading, Hope is… Another Person. One of the things I find particularly depressing in a modern context – maybe because we have swallowed the scientific objective pill – is the way we treat other people. If we can label them (define them), we can forget about them. People who are different from us can be ignored or, worse, abused. Survival of the fittest, rule of the jungle, the majority vote is the truth.
As an Australian, I have been deeply affected by the Christchurch shooting. Yet the shooting is only really the tip of the iceberg. We have “leaders” (elected politicians) who give credence to the act by continuing the hate filled rhetoric. And worse, for me, is that the pastor of the church we attend used the same “what about us” rhetoric to tacitly justify the act.
We are all created in the image of God. The New Testament tells us that “God is love”. So to love (as opposed to hating) is the most human of all actions. Not a sentimental feeling towards another that validates wrong. Rather seeing the other as a person (created in the image of God) and not as an object (that feeds my needs). I wonder, too, if a majority of religion (in my context Christianity) makes “god” an object to be defined and labeled – and, in some way, to be upset with when that object does not behave as expected.
Anyway, that was a lot more convoluted than intended.
I love this picture!
Here are a few articles I have bookmarked:
- The Stillness of History: Kierkegaard and German Mysticism
- Kierkegaard’s “Gospel of Sufferings,” Discourse VI: “The Joy of It That the Happiness of Eternity Still Outweighs Even the Heaviest Temporal Suffering”
- The gospel according to Kierkegaard: Sin, guilt and the offense of forgiveness
There are more!
I have just finished watching the Netflix original series The Keepers. It is a very powerful and very sad story. I would like to reflect more on it but I will need to let it sink in a little.
And I just wanted to share two articles I have read recently:
Kierkegaard’s ways to be human (by Ray Monk) which is a review of the soon to be released book by Clare Carlisle.
I would normally not do this – quote someone as a “bad example” – but this tweet speaks volumes to me. (BTW: I have great respect for the person who wrote it as someone of insight and spiritual maturity and hence I have blacked out the name.)
“Allows an encounter with great doctrines”?? “Stay close”?? If the rosary, or any devotion (reading the Bible or saying the Office), keeps us close to a doctrine, all is lost!!! Not to put too fine a point on it, no doctrine will ever “save” us but only the person of God-incarnate, Jesus Christ. Yes, theology and doctrine is important. But it is the person who is behind the rosary – Our Lady leading us to Jesus – that is of the upmost importance. It is the person who is behind the doctrine. A devotion is never (!!!!!) an encounter with a doctrine, a teaching, an idea, a moral. It is always an encounter with a person.
My main problem – after much reflection and soul-searching – with modern forms of Christianity is that it has become a “philosophy” (in the broadest sense of the word) and has abdicated the encounter with the divine for intellectual consent. It feels to me like Christianity needs people to agree with it – culture at large or individuals – and they have a product to sell (one among many). All of this makes God an object and individuals “brains in jars”.
Stay close to Jesus else all is lost!!!!