Sunday, July 24, 2005

Email: Self is not a four-letter word [SD]

I don’t feel that I said or implied you were illiterate at all. We all have a first time when we hear something, and like scripture, it may speak to us specially at any time we hear it later in life. (No one remembers everything perfectly and since we grow as we go, we gain new perspectives and revelations -- or new perspectives and revelations gain on us.) To the contrary, I assumed you were interested in and capable of understanding more about that particular phrase, so I took you in my confidence and shared with you what I knew and had to say about it, treating you as an equal. You may accept or reject what I say or think at any time. You are not the one who should (be) reject(ed) yourself. I am not the standard here; you are not the standard here; we are both equals before God.

You have a healthy definition of self-interest (personal care) vs. self-centeredness (conceit and pride). God wants us all to look out for our own lives; seeking our own shelter, sustenance, survival, health and happiness is certainly acceptable (and necessary). You can’t play by the rules unless you play on the team (or is that vice versa?). Chicken or egg. Something like that. I caught a good TV preacher for a minute this morning (before sticking with an autobio on J.K. Rowling for most of an hour) who said that our bodies are God’s, so (these are my conclusions now) we are stewards not owners; we are leasing with a balloon payment... (OK, enough metaphors for now, this doesn’t seem to be my day for them.) Yet there is a selfishness that cuts one off from others and esp. from God; it is this “I am a king unto myself” that we recognize as selfishness, as opposed to legitimate self-care and self-interest (preserving our physical, emotional, intellectual and financial integrity). Yes, it absolutely and ultimately comes down to the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would treat yourself if you were them.

I don’t know what your “evangelical” thoughts are beyond what you share with me. Again, I am speaking of “evangelicals” in general, not specifically addressing you. I have no idea if you think this or that way unless you say so. There is nothing wrong with evangelical Christianity that isn’t wrong with Catholic Christianity or any other kind of faith: It is human and prone to missteps and oversights. If I point out to you that the staircase you are about to descend on has (from my experience) a goosy step that may trip you up, I am not criticizing you, I am trying to help you (as I would do with anyone). A critic is not an outsider, he is generally a member of the community who seeks to help others see vital nuances they haven’t noticed yet. Listening improves on ignorance; this is why church services have a sermon or homily and at almost any public function, a speaker addresses the audience. Why do so many people take things personally? Fear of criticism or rejection, I suppose. What does it take to hear and dialog with equanimity, I wonder? (Food for thought.)


Post a Comment

<< Home