Sunday, January 28, 2007

two quotes and a new word

Two quotes and a thought.

From Suzanne Wolfe

Art and literature "enrapture us," Suzanne said. "It's the last real presence of God in a consumer-crazy world. It kind of returns us to a sense of what is real and what is good and what is true."

From Dr. M. Scott Peck
In a letter to her sister, Saint Theresa of Lysieux wrote, "If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter." To define a "true Chrisitan" is a risky business. But if I had to, my difinition would that that a ture Christian is anyone who is "for Jesus a pleansant place of shelter." There are hundreds of thousands who go to Christian churches every Sunday who are not the least bit willing to be displeasing to themselves, serenely or otherwise, and who are not, therefore, for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter. Conversely, there are millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics who are willing to bear that trial."

I think Dr. Peck does touch on a reasonable definition for "true Christian", and I find it disturbing from both sides. I mean that from one side, I no longer think it's such a great idea to be displeasing to myself. I mean that Christianity was the place where I developed the toxic self negativity which I am now learning to give up/grow out of. From the other side, if this is the definition of "true Christian", then it has seemed to me that a solid majority of those who call themselves christians certainly don't fulfill the meaning of the definition--neither the "serenely bear", nor the "being displeasing to yourself." Or maybe I guess I mean mostly the "serenely bear" part--"they" tend to be very very busily avoiding and escaping their dislike of themselves.

And in a lecture this week on Relapse Prevention,Dr. Alan Marlatt introduced me to the idea of drawing a distinction between "lapse" and "relapse", and he talked about how this distinction has helped addicts in recovery. This struck me as amazingly useful and sensible.


stephanie said...

You were badly emotionally abused in the name of Christianity. Jesus isn't about toxic self negativity. Jesus's tenderness towards us is huge. At least this is my experience. Even though I've also been abused in the name of Christianity. (This is a loaded concept - it's exactly why People of the Lie was so helpful to me.) -stephy

Sam said...

bens, congrats on getting onto the honours programme! that is fantastic :)

did i tell you about the marshall scholarship?

Megs said...

i love you bens darling!