“False Self” & Modern Christians

With my blog I try and challenge and inspire.  Challenging perceptions and ideas is important – It is how we grow.

I have done this by the social angle, I have done this by the philosophical angle, and I have done this by a religious angle.

Now maybe time for a Psychological Angle? 😉

In Donald Winnicott’s thought there is a “True Self and False Self”.

True self

“Only the true self can be creative and only the true self can feel real.”  For Winnicott, the True Self is a sense of being alive and real in one’s mind and body, having feelings that are spontaneous and unforced. This experience of aliveness is what allows people to be genuinely close to others, and to be creative.

False self

In Winnicott’s writing, the “False Self” is a defence, a kind of mask of behaviour that complies with others’ expectations. Winnicott thought that in health, a False Self was what allowed one to present a “polite and mannered attitude” in public.

But he saw more serious emotional problems in patients who seemed unable to feel spontaneous, alive or real to themselves anywhere, in any part of their lives, yet managed to put on a successful “show of being real.” Such patients suffered inwardly from a sense of being empty, dead or “phoney.”

 

In the Christian world how many of us have started to think that being a Christian means being a fulfillment of all the social norms and what we “ought” to be like.

Does this allow God who is alive and beyond understanding to really show-case his creature and lead it on an interesting and exciting journey?  A journey perhaps unimaginable and beyond the story line we think is life?

Remember this readers, do not become fake and empty thinking it is holy and proper.  This is truly separation/hell.

 

 

 

The Cross as the Site of the Triumph of the Secular

Great article by Joseph of Inverted Kingdom

(https://bktheologian.wordpress.com/)

Historians trained in the reading of the genealogy of ideas via historical facticities will reckon that the current secular age we find ourselves in – an age where a religious paradigm and thought form is relegated to the periphery – is the outcome of the Enlightenment period, a time where western man began to fashion himself over against the motifs of a Judeo-Christian worldview. With the rise of modern science, new political structures, and a humanism divorced from traditions and established ideologies, the modern period ushered in an age of the “free man” – that individual no longer bound to ancient authority. God construed in theistic terms slowly began to collapse into a deistic God: distant, cold, detached, designer of all, uninvolved. This practical atheism that deism unintentionally produced morphed into a robust, out of the closet atheism, powerfully expressed, for instance, in the writings of Nietzsche and Sartre. And while modernism rests on the values and ethos of the Judeo-Christian worldview, an ethic hijack from the religious for the sake of the secular, it fails to substantiate such values ontologically since it does not and cannot hold on to a metaphysics that would at once overturn the modernistic moment. And so, as some have said, the advent of post-modernism is nothing more than a sick philosophy, inwardly rotten, self-festering because it is born out of a nihilistic world, cut off from any objective reality because, out of a nihilistic presupposition, there is no objective reality, no concrete coordinate system to judge or orient oneself, and so all has collapsed into the individual, the radically subjective.

This is of course something of a caricature. Nevertheless the truth (if I can use such a word) still stands: We in the west are swimming in the sea of the secular. But according to Christianity, unbeknownst to the whole world and by virtue of the great condescension of God, the world has already been stepped in the secular since the Advent of Christ. Ontologically speaking, religious thinking and all that usually comes with it was pushed passed the horizons of human consciousness with the enfleshment, the secularization of God!

Way before the Enlightenment period, the secular triumphed on the cross 2,000 years ago when God, marginalized, rejected and beat up, died. This gave birth to a new religious moment however: God as omnipotent is the weak human under political oppression, for the sake of the world. This is precisely the kind of religious thinking that is subversively secular through and through: A God of love is a God that is dead to political power, religious power, even visible power.

Is it possible that, through the coming-of-age secular world we find ourselves in, the God of love, the Father of Jesus, has, through His Spirit, brought the church closer to the truth of His nature revealed in the First Advent?

It seems to me that when the Christian experiences marginalization, disenfranchisement, even radical persecution – as it was during the early years of the church, she is truly “intimately sharing in the sufferings of Christ.” It is precisely here, in this cultural moment, when the church can move in the power of the Spirit, “knowing the power of his Resurrection.”

Parousia and the Glorification of the Cosmos

In my personal life as many will know I have a deep affinity for the eastern spiritual tradition of Christianity.

This article is written by a wonderful Priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It deals with the subject of Eschatology in an almost systematic way. It brings in so many treasures of the tradition to really bring the discussion alive!

I would recommend that my readers (Who are mostly of the western tradition) to read Christ as referenced as “The Logos”. I think this adds another layer of depth to an already spirited piece.

Enjoy! And let me know in the comments what you think of our brothers from the Eastern Church 🙂

Eclectic Orthodoxy

“But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).

When Christ returns in glory, all will be made new. The cosmos will be transfigured, transformed, transmuted, redeemed, renewed, sanctified, sophianized, glorified, deified. These are just words, of course. We have to use them in order to talk about the coming Kingdom of God, but the eschatological event of which they speak transcends our imagining. The consummation of cosmic history will be glorious. This is the hope that empowers and fills all gospel preaching.

As we have seen in this series, the primary characteristic of the parousia is glory. The risen Christ will appear in the glory of the Spirit who eternally rests upon him. The time of hiddenness is over. Glory comes into the world and all is glorified. “The glory that accompanies the parousia,” writes Sergius…

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The Parable of the Two Good Guys

*Below is an excellent modern day perspective on the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”.  With our divisions in Christianity, attitudes that create polemic environments, and complexity of narratives/interpretations we sometimes miss common sense and the whole spirit of the Gospel.  Hopefully this piece helps awaken you from within the rabbit hole.*

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A young man who knew his Bible, could cite chapter and verse, was sent by his pastor to question this new teacher in town, name of Jesus, to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” the lad was told to ask, “how do I get eternal life?”

“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there, young fella” Jesus said.

Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the lad declared, “Yep, it’s the inspired and inerrant Word of God, infallible and perfect in every way.”

“Sorry?” Jesus said.

“It’s the inerrant Word of God,” the lad repeated.

“Let me see,” said Jesus.

The lad handed the Bible to Jesus, who took it, opened it, shook it, smelled it, then returned it to the youngster. “Who says it’s inerrant?” he asked.

“God says,” the youngster replied.

“Where does God say that?” asked Jesus.

“In the Bible,” the youngster replied.

“But that doesn’t answer the question,” Jesus said, “it begs the question. It’s circular reasoning to say that the Bible is inerrant because in the Bible God says that the Bible is inerrant. What you claim to be true you’re assuming rather than proving. Which is a logical fallacy, which is bad apologetics, which shames our faith.”

“You what?” said the lad, completely discombobulated. “Are you trying to trick me?”

“Of course not,” said Jesus. “It’s just that you’re brandishing that book like it’s an assault weapon rather than a surgeon’s scalpel, and I suspect that you read it rather unimaginatively, one-dimensionally, as if it were a cook book rather than a love story, and listen to it as if it were a collection of notes rather than a magnificent symphony. You search it for answers, but you don’t allow it to probe you with questions. You look for closure when you should pray for critique. God certainly speaks to us through the scriptures, but interpreting the Bible is rarely a simple matter, let alone an open-and-shut case. We should expect to be surprised and disturbed, to have our fixed views challenged – and our settled selves changed.”

But the young man had that impatient, I’m-not-listening-to-a-thing-you-say look on his face. “Just answer the question,” he demanded: “How do I get eternal life?”

“Ahem,” sighed Jesus (not “Amen”). “Let’s turn to the Bible then. What do you say it says?”

“It’s obvious,” replied the youngster (rather smugly, it must be said): “You must love the Lord with all your heart and soul, mind and strength, and you must love your neighbour as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. End of.”

“Excellent. So all you need is love,” said Jesus, pretending to be impressed and persuaded. For he suspected that the lad had an agenda, that he would try to embarrass and expose Jesus as an unreliable teacher. And Jesus was right.

“Ah,” the lad said, “but who is this neighbour I must love?” Of course he knew the answer: according to Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the neighbour is my fellow believer. But rumour had it that Jesus was mixing with all sorts, pervs and quislings and folk of other faiths, so how would he answer the question?

But Jesus didn’t answer the question, or at least he didn’t give a straight answer. Instead he told a story. “One night a man was walking to town when he was attacked by some thugs. They beat him up, took his wallet and iPhone, then ran off, leaving him half-dead. A minister happened to be walking along the same road, but when he saw the man, he checked his watch and hurried past him. A priest followed a few minutes later (he and the minister had been at a conference on theological ethics). He also saw the man, left some change, but stepped around him. Then two strangers to the area, oddly dressed, came upon the man, and when they saw the state of him they were overwhelmed with pity and compassion. They held him in their arms, stopped the bleeding, called a cab, took him to a local public house, and stayed with him all night. The next morning, they gave the landlord £100. ‘Look after him,’ they said. ‘Call a chemist and get some bandages, Savlon, and Ibuprofen. We’ll be back in a few days and reimburse you for any extra expense.’ Now,” concluded Jesus, “who were the good guys?”

The youngster was nonplussed. “The ‘good guys’? What’s that got to do with getting eternal life?”

“I’ll get to that,” Jesus replied. “But first, answer my question.”

“Well, the minister and the priest – what denominations were they?”

“Who cares?” said Jesus.

“And were they born again?”

“Does it matter?” asked Jesus

“And those two other guys – are you sure they weren’t gay?”

“And if they were?” said Jesus.

“And why didn’t they call 999 for the cops and the paramedics?” the youngster continued his third degree. “Had they been drinking? Were they on drugs? They sound like foreigners. Were they migrants, even illegals?”

“What is this, a sketch from Life of Brian?” suggested Jesus.

“And the man who was mugged – where was he going, what was he doing? It all sounds very suspicious to me.”

“I …” began Jesus, quite flabbergasted.

“And …” interrupted the youngster.

“Look,” counter-interrupted Jesus, “Leviticus and Deuteronomy don’t have the last word on defining ‘neighbour’, and eternal life isn’t a matter of your church, theology, or religious experience, nor do you ‘get’ it, you live it, starting now, with simple human decency: being truthful and thoughtful, kind and generous, acting justly, practicing mercy – and not just to your own, to fellow citizens and co-religionists, but to anyone in need, especially strangers, whatever their ethnicity, faith, or sexuality. If they’re hurting, they’re your neighbour, and if you help them, you’re their neighbour. We are called to help even those who hate us, and one day you might find someone you hate helping you. Eternal life is another life, but it’s hidden in this life.”

“Well,” harrumphed the youngster, “I’ve heard enough. You’ve said nothing about getting saved. You’re clearly unsound.” But feeling sorry for Jesus, he added, “I’ll pray for you.” Then he handed Jesus a leaflet and started to walk away.

Suddenly, however, he stopped, as if struck by lightning. But the sky was blue, though a cottony cumulus cloud had just passed the sun, which winked, flashed, then glowed benignly, like a huge egg yolk, on the two people below. The young man turned around: “I’ll think about what you said.”
Jesus waved and picked up his fishing rod.

— Kim Fabricius

(Kim Fabricius is a man who settled on a farm in the south of England, where Love mugged him, hugged him, and finally bugged him into faith and ministry. He read theology at Mansfield College, Oxford (1979-81), and then became the pastor of Bethel United Reformed Church, Swansea and a chaplain at Swansea University (1982-2013).)

 

Verse of the Day

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

— Isaiah 58:7-12

Namaste

Namaste

Namaste is a respectful greeting, salutation, and even valediction in Hindu culture.

Most commonly in the West we use it as a respectful affirmation with someone we feel comfortable with in an environment that it is most proper to use.  For example a yoga studio Lol 😉

It is a beautiful word and means “I bow to the divine in you”.

So to all my readers and followers Namaste 🙂