Monday, February 28

At the risk of beating a one-note drum....

There's more than one note to a Bodhran
I realise that I beat on this drum a lot and I also realise that there is a lot more to the richness of Christian life than this.

And yet....

As Bill (of Bilgrimage) and I were discussing during a recent exchange, judgment is one of the key elements of Christianity (of all stripes) within the US today.  We seem fueled by the idea of being worthy in comparison to others.  Ergo, those who do [X] or are born [Y] or have/don't have [Z] are evil/sinful/naughty and, thus, I'm better than them.

The NT reading for mass this weekend is from I Corinthians:
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (I Cor 4:2-5)
So....a few things here.

1. Stewards/managers (the greek is οἰκονόμους, literally household-manager...usually a freed-slave.) must be trustworthy.  (insert rant about clerical abuse scandal here)

2. It's God who judges. (insert rant about judgmental folk of most every religious and irreligious stripe here)

3. At the end of days, God will open all the books and all the hearts...and everyone shall receive commendation (ἔπαινος, fitting praise) from God.

Note there's no 'fire & brimstone', no Old Testament Wrath-O'-God stuff here.  Mayhap some shall receive more commendation than others, but it will be just and due praise as the motive of their hearts as well as their actions in secret requires.  So...kinda a positive-only version of Karma.  That's....that's very much not what they teach in Sunday School or  most churches.

This also highlights a longstanding, complex question.  "If one does a good thing for evil reasons, is the action morally good or not?  Contrawise, if one does a morally repulsive thing with the best of intentions, is the action morally repugnant?"  Paul's statement here puts intent at LEAST on the table, if not of equal standing with results.  In short, it's both faith AND works. 

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