Virtue: The Church You Want to Join-The Unacceptable

   "Christianity preaches an obviously unattractive idea, such as original sin; but when we wait for its results, they are pathos and brotherhood, and a thunder of laughter and pity; for only with original sin can we at once pity the beggar and distrust the king."

                                                       -G.K. Chesterton

   How do you determine what is unacceptable?

   If anything is unacceptable, who gets to decide how it is unacceptable?

   Is anything unacceptable?

   Jesus the Christ, the most forgiving of fellows, announced blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was unacceptable (inexcusable). Then He left us twisting in the wind, trying to decide exactly what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and why He used this phrase, since He had not yet publicly taught about the Holy Spirit and no one in the crowd was likely to have a good idea about the Third Person of the Trinity.

   Most of them had some qualms about Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity just then.

   If we want a clear picture of what Jesus (may) mean, look at the things He (actively) disapproves.

   Self-righteousness, false piety, empty religion, corporate greed (tables go flying in the Temple), prejudice against women and strangers, hunger, thirst, serial monogamy, prostitution (not prostitutes) and, finally, death, all earn His approbation. Jesus hates this stuff.

   Jesus finds somethings simply unacceptable. It is a matter of His virtue to hate some of the acts of man.

   Milton gave a short list of the things blindness makes a man miss, in Paradise Lost (Book Three):

Thus with the Year

Seasons Return, but not to me returns,

Day or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,

Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summer's Rose,

Or flocks or heards,

or human face divine.

   "What do we do,"  myfriend asked me recently, "with the corpse of a dinosaur?"

   She was referring to a large denominational organization, dead for a short time, but still decaying in the parlor. You cannot ignore the body. It is too big. You cannot tolerate the stench. It is too powerful.

   Somethings are unacceptable. Blindness is not a crime but it is an inconvenience and no one practices it voluntarily for long.

   At least, people do not practice blindness physically as a habit. It is too hard.

   Emotionally, intellectually, spiritually' these are different kinds of sightlessness. In the heart, blindness is more acceptable than sight, if the sight we have to see is the dead T-Rex in the kitchen.

   How do I see again, Rabbi?

   How do I see for the first time?

   Who sinned, me or my parents, that I was born so spiritually lazy I am blind in my heart and mind?

   What is your theology of right and wrong? What does God make you see? What is it you must look away from God to put out of your line of sight?

   Scrooge begged the ghosts not to make him see anymore. He had to look away from his own pitiful life, lived without generosity, devoid of love.

   God wants to make you look.

   Let your theology be your ethics. Neither God nor ethics is designed just to keep you in line.

   God displays the divine wish that you become the kind of person God could hang with.







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