Sunday, February 24, 2008

Over Indulgence

This is a .... heavy post (click here). I know I have it linked over on the what I am reading section, but this is one that so describes what I would like to have written if I could turn a phrase like Josh does.

I talk a good spiritual talk, but there seems to be little substance beneath it most of the time. It is the awareness of my hypocrisy that sometimes freezes me from ANY action... yet that awareness exacerbates the situation.

Sometimes people see universalism as a license to do whatever you want. I can say that I am not feeling that freedom. I seem to be more aware than ever how much I miss the mark.

I know a lot of scripture. Piles of it. I have friends who think this is to my credit. To follow Josh's format : I am a Saint. I can quote off whole books of scripture and give you a chapter verse for almost any question you have. I am a hypocrite. The lack of proportional effect this has on my life is vile. My compassion for the poor is just words. Some of those same friends put more action to their faith in a week than I do all year.


Brook said...

this sort of thing always reminds me of the end of Schindler's List, where he sees all the people he has saved and all the good he has done by using his wealth, and the only response that fits this realization for him is one of horror and grief at how much more he could have done, how much more he kept for himself at the cost of other potential lives that could have been saved. I think "judgement day" will turn out to be something like that, where we see clearly just how much we had and how much more we could have done.
and then on the other side is the idea that no matter how bad I make myself feel, it won't help to make someone else feel better. the point, as I believe C.S. Lewis says, is not self-sacrifice, but rather charity, not what you have or don't have, but how others are being affected, whether others are being loved or not.
unfortunately, the ability to see the big picture or the eternal perspective that would give us true motivation and grounding in the way we live our lives is something we can try to attain, but I don't believe we can ever truly lay hold of that perspective as finite human beings (but apparantly we will be judged for that nonetheless).

societyvs said...

That is currently the 'post of the year' in my opinion!

I think we all feel like that in some way, shape, and form when considering our faith and our acts in this world. We can never do enough - loved Brook's memory of Schindler's List - very poignant.

However, focusing on our own smallness in this world does not actually change things - but it does help us clear our vision. We need to work like a community of people that have the 'spirit of Christ' (love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness) and if we each take responsibility for our slices of the world - might see something great happen - namely people caring for one another.

Andrew said...

"but it does help us clear our vision."

It's true. I had a friend who read my post and called to give me some encouragement. He was gracious and I assured him I wasn't beating myself up too much. But like you said about clearing vision, I think we need to go to that bitter well and take a drink occasionally.

I agree with you about Josh's post for 'post of the year'. I don't know if it falls under the category of poetry, but it had that effect on me.

"I think "judgement day" will turn out to be something like that"

Growing up in the communities we did, we learned that "he will wipe away every tear" meant that we would all be crying over the rewards we didnt get. However, I agree with you that, rather, I think we will overcome by our pointless self-indulgence.

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