Sunday, June 03, 2007

I went to church today.

This excerpts are from a book that is analyzing "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky. I like it, so I'm posting it.

"The sinner is part of God's mysterious design; and there are moments when a truly divine light appears over the most abject of misery"

"We must never cease loving the sinner because God always continues to love him. True love and justice will prevail only when God's forgiveness speaks through man's humility and no thoughts of moral superiority must ever enter our hearts."

"To believe in God and to undertake and follow Him irrespective of the consequences--that is too much of a risk to take, as the Grand Inquisitor suggests. The Church gives man a lighter burden to carry; it preaches, explains, and selects the truth, forgives sins, and bestowes the happiness of children upon man. The price demanded for this is high; man must surrender his freedome of thought, but he willingly does so. He no longer serves God as God may demand of him but as the Church tells him. God's mysteries and miracles will henceforth be monopolized and administered by the Church."

"The cardinal as the advocate of evil is quite verbose; he appears logical and persuasive; his arguments are saturated with wordly-wise experience. But Christ remains mute. Truth exists by its own majesty."

It's pretty apparent that the "church" being talked about is more catholic oriented, but the essence of what it is saying is very important, whether or not it can be directly applied. It is interesting to think about God being used, as opposed to a person being used by God. God is such an abstract and influential aspect of culture, and I think that is very easy to slip into a mode of spiritual existence in which one's motives are claimed to be God's, through a medium of the Church, someone being taught how to listen, how to understand, etc. People like to call me out on my generalization of the "Church", and they point out that all churches aren't of this nature, and I know that. Although, the point is not to demonize the church, but to make the church (in it's modern context) less important. Dependence upon the church is the same as any other dependence, unhealthy passed a certain point. I went to church today, and the sermon was wonderful simply for the fact that it focused on the freedom of one's own life, and focused on our ability to discern for ourselves what is wrong or right. The preacher mentiond the term "grey area" in a way that gives it validity, and didn't dismiss it. Growth is important. Just like a child who, as he or she grows, becomes less dependent on the parents; it shouldn't be too different with one's relationship with God and our growth into understanding Him in different contexts.


Blogger Melanie said...

I like this line:
"Truth exists by its own majesty."

I have never really felt compelled to listen to "the church" in the sense of being told what to do. I have always, at the churches I attend, been instructed to test all things by the Word of God, not always an easy task.

We have had a sermon or two on "grey areas", aka those matters which are sin if one does them not in accordance with faith; or which violate a person's own conscience. On the other hand, for there to be grey I imagine a little black and white must exist?

Sometime I'd be curious to hear your take on Ravi Zacharious on moral absolutes - not necessarily legalism, just right and wrong in general.


4:02 AM

Blogger Zach said...

are his moral absolutes rooted in the pretense of christianity?

8:14 AM

Blogger Melanie said...

Ravi Zacharias is a Christian with a doctorate in philosophy. Not sure what you mean by pretense. I think his views are fairly straightforward. He is coming from a Christian viewpoint.

Personally, I think there are a few absolutes that are consistent with Christianity as well as other belief systems. For instance, if I walked up to you and shot you for no reason, I can't see how that would be right. LOL

3:02 PM

Blogger Zach said...

moral absolutes, hmm. i suppose if you deny God even exists, would you have to deny that there is good and evil? I am saying that because if you don't believe in God, what do the words "good" and "evil" mean? Does good and evil exist without God?

4:00 PM

Blogger Melanie said...

Hmmm... not sure I want to find out. LOL I think some would say that without God good wouldn't exist and I know I'd offend a few friends if I were to make that comment. But then some would say without God we wouldn't exist either. LOL Somehow, I have less trouble believing that evil would still be with us. Whether or not we would consider it to be evil is hard to say. I have no answer for that one. ;)

1:31 AM

Blogger Chelsea said...

I read that book last year for a book report and loved it.

However, your reflections have given light to a new train of thought in me.

I am bookmarking this. Thank you for sharing, and it is absolutely wonderful to read your thoughts on anything.

8:24 PM


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