Posted by: HAT | April 2, 2009

Thought in Shower 2

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness

I had some further thoughts (see the first post today), to this effect:

(1) I am really beginning to think that the perfectionistic, demanding theology I was taught as a child — we need grace, which looks like the paternal-filial human sacrifice of substitutionary atonement, because God wants human beings to hew to a meticulous behavioral standard the stringent demands of which are utterly impossible for us to meet — gets things very wrong. Not that it is so easy to be perfect, but that it is a mistake to minimize how much we can do by doing a little bit better, and then a little bit better still. And also a mistake to paint the divine along such nit-picking lines.

Not that human beings don’t need grace. (Can’t imagine a theology without THAT.) But that the need for it is less our failure to be perfect, which is maybe exaggerated in some theologies, and more proneness to making serious mistakes due to our being subject to ambiguity and uncertainty. From where we stand, we think one direction, one set of actions, looks like it will be an improvement (think Eve in Genesis 3 . . .), and then it turns out we were wrong about that. Too late to go back, undo it, redo it . . . and maybe this mistake entails significant negative consequences.

It’s the problem of insufficient information and bad exegesis. From inside the world, it seems, we have a lot of trouble getting things right. A lot of noise. A lot of discernment difficulties. A lot of blurred vision. A lot of obscurity. . . .

Revelation answers to the perplexity problem, grace to the mistakenness problem. (As if I were suddenly methodologically Tillich.)


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