Friday, August 21, 2015

I'm Not Joshing You

The easiest Christian thing to say in the whole Josh Duggar mess is, "Don't we all have a little of that in us?" Well, yes. And I guess we still need to remind ourselves of that, since many professed Christians seem to join in the cultural chorus of treating certain heinous sinners like non-people.

I had another thought though, as I pondered my own failings, and sought mercy: we have a sacramental system, and we make frequent use of the sacraments, not because we lack confidence in God's love, but because we want to remain ourselves. That is, the change from a holy person into a wicked one is often slow, and maybe imperceptible.

Isn't one of the tragic parts of these public falls that people live a double life? You can't do that unless your friendship with the one who knows you best atrophies. Moralists aren't often wrong about what is moral, but without a shared life, they are just rules, like words on signs. Having God as your friend is like walking in a kept garden; in some ways, the first thing you learn is to avoid stepping on the plants. Isn't the joy of the garden...the garden? If someone told you that the whole point was to avoid the plants, you'd say that person was missing it. Enjoy your friend, the sights, the smells!

Don't we think this wrong way about sin? We say, "I've done well, because I haven't done x in y days or weeks." Well and good. Did you enjoy anything? That's how the saints become the saints: they love God so much that the fact of not damaging the plants is an afterthought.

Don't break the rules. Don't step on the plants. But enjoy yourself so much that the basic decorum is hardly worth belaboring.

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