But this I thought was the meaning of life, that the individual shook off the habit of accepting the favors of difference, should that be tempting, steeled himself against its humiliation, should that weigh down on him, in order to find the universal, what is common to all human beings, to concern oneself only with that. Oh! How beautiful to lose oneself in this way. But then I thought again that in the having of this concern the meaning of life was to be concerned for oneself as if the particular individual were all there was. Oh! How beautiful thus to find oneself in the universal! If the universal is the rule then the individual is the paradigm [corrected from demand]; if the universal is the demand then the universal is the fulfillment; if the universal is everything, if the universal says everything, then the particular individual believes that the everything is said about him-him alone. So if the place and context here did not require signature, none would be needed, for again it is infinitely inconsequential who has said it (as though the favored one said it, the one who was wronged being in no position to say it, since after all they all have it in them to do it).S. Kierkegaard 1846 Journals, Hannay 1996, VII IB200, p. 252
I have been reading SK’s Communion Discourses (via Sylvia Walsh’s Discourses at the Communion on Fridays). I think SK’s reflection on Luke 18:13 (The Tax Collector) is filled with insights and depth. Here is a little quote:
“Thank God, I am not like …”. Contrast, distance, division. A very modern attitude.
The real issue is how I – I alone, just me without others – stand before God.
On another note, I would like to record another podcast. I am thinking of reading a little of the above discourse. I feel I have nothing to say at the moment, especially nothing as insightful as SK. So maybe?!
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 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 find this website so helpful and informative: