Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Brokenness" As Decadence

I called Anne Lamott a "decadent snob," and I didn't feel bad about it. Well, I sort of do. I don't know Anne Lamott. I've only read parts of several of her books. I had to stop "A Severe Mercy," because it seemed...gratuitous. Calvinism has this weird influence on everything; we give each other spiritual points for being more messed up. It's supposed to make God seem greater. After all, he did say, "He who has been forgiven little loves little, but he who has been forgiven much, loves much." On the other hand, isn't God glorified by our obedience and our transformation into Him?

The people who blather on publicly about how "broken" they are [Warning: I'm about to generalize, probably unfairly.] have either A) figured out that it gains them some currency to do it; or B) are burned out from trying so hard. The first group is presumptuous, and the second is proud. The whole cursed thing is Pelagian. And that's ironic.

 The glorious thing about auricular confession is that only Christ (essentially) hears how stupid you are. That real guy on the other end may cause me to shrink back in shame, but upon reflection, I'm just as likely to hide from myself as I would him. A benefit is not having to construct a cottage industry of excessive self-deprecation.

I'd probably relax and tip a few more back too, if I knew (or believed) God saw Christ instead of me. On the other hand, if I believed that justification was entirely the work of God to the exclusion of myself, while sanctification was under my power (though not exclusively), that would be terrifying, especially in the absence of efficacious signs. I'd give up, in light of the fact that God's warnings are an empty threat, if this is true. Pursuing sanctification in this way is like going on a scavenger hunt at night in a rainstorm for something you already have.

I guess that is to say I have sympathy with the Reformed libertines; they see the implications of monergism most clearly, and apply them consistently.

Which is not to say that I'm sypathetic to libertinism. But it is to say that a theology of sanctification that respects both reality and reason leads out of Reformed theology and into the Catholic Church.

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