Monday, July 25, 2011


SO, I got to the point of saying Jesus didn't die for our sins.

Now, on to something which people may find even more puzzling.

I'm less and less inclined to think, or talk, of "sin." For four reasons.

First, I've thought, for a very long time, that humans are naturally self-centred. Which seems logical. If you aren't concerned about your welfare, if you don't pay attention to living, you die. That seems incredibly simple.

Second, I think that all of us are spiritual beings having a human experience. I take it to be true that we are "made in the image of God." Which means that, on some level, we are divine beings.

That being said, the third point. As self-centred beings, and also divine beings, having an "unusual" experience. How do we fit in? That is the question that stays with us all through our lives. We might use the word "socialization," or something like that. The overall message is that kindness, or compassion, is the most helpful thing. And that, really, is the opposition of self-centredness.

So we reach the point of recognizing that we are imperfect people, living in an imperfect world. Yes, we have "defects of character," because we have not learned entirely to fit into the community which surrounds us, and we're still worried about our own self-preservation. One of the functions of faith, or spirituality, or whatever you call it, is to find creative ways to live with one another.

In the end, the conflict is between self and community. And the more uncertain — more frightened — we become, the more we are likely to focus on self-preservation, and the less likely we are to focus on community. Which is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. Because we cannot do it all ourselves. Simply put, my survival depends on your survival

We don't normally think of life on such stark terms. We often tend to consider ourself as self-made people, who worship our creator (i.e., ourselves).

Yes, I know; that is a lot of territory to cover in a short space. But I'm trying not to bore you.


potsoc said...

We all have mornings like that and it has been going on for over 1 million years. Will we ever learn?

Frances said...

Not bored at all.

Many times every day we are challenged by what you have written.

The Golden Rule tries to address this, as do some other concepts that have been afloat for many, many generations.


Rubye Jack said...

Definitely good food for thought for me.

Tattieweasle said...

It's a big thought to contemplate

cheshire wife said...

It took me a long time to realise that there were some occasions where I simply had to be self-centred for my own good.

Gutsy Living said...

Funny I came across your post right after listening to a podcast by someone I shall be interviewing on August 24th. He talked about a movie called, "I am" which mentions the need for humans to be more cooperative rather than competitive. The message is, "We need to work as a community, and take the How can I help you approach."

Jackie said...

6:34 P.M. (EST) Wednesday
Hi Bear...(er, Rob...) :)
I am in a bit of a rush at the moment. I'm about to drive to church. I'm still the instrumentalist (piano or keyboard...whichever is needed) at the Baptist church here but am looking forward to catching up on your blog. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement and kindness you left on my blog. I'll be baaaaaack...
Smiles and hugs from Jackie

Jackie said...

You are never boring, Rob. Never.
I worship and adore my Creator. He deserves only my highest praise....through my good times and my bad times. God is "I Am"...and there are many many times that I have to remind myself that "I'm not!" :))
Hugs to you, Rob. Sorry about posting twice....but I hadn't had a chance to read your blog before I posted earlier. Thank you again for your concern and your kindness, my friend.

Diana said...

Wow, that's a lot for me to process. It makes sense to me but my head is smoking so I must turn away for now!

I love God. My faith is strong. I try my best to be a good girl.

That is all I know!!

Love Di ♥

About Last Weekend said...

This brings brings to mind the song by Patti Smith, Jesus died for someone's sins but not for mine. There always is a huge push pull between the me and community...

Rob-bear said...

® Paul: Thanks for your question. I wonder if we will learn. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd bet against our collective learning.

® Frances: Thanks. Your point is good.

® Linda: Thanks. My goal in writing these bits is to help me think, and maybe inspire some thoughts in others.

® Tattie Weasle: Yes, it's tough; especially for me, a bear of little brain. Thanks. Good luck in your contemplation.

Rob-bear said...

® CW: Absolutely. There are people out there who seem bent on grinding others down. I think the appropriate response is, "No bl**dy way!" Thanks for sharing your thought. Nobody really wins when we are nasty and brutal with each other.

® Gutsy Sonia: Goodness. Perhaps I'm in good company. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope the interview goes well. I'd be delighted to hear what your interviewee has to say. On your blog, perhaps?

Rob-bear said...

® Teacher Jackie: So glad you're back in the blogsphere. I trust your mom is getting along as well as she can. Blessings and Bear hugs to her.
We have much to learn from the Creator, not only in how to worship, but how to live creatively with one another. Thanks for sharing your experience.

® Jody: I should try to track down that song. Thanks. The push-pull thing is real enough, all right. When I think of community I think of friends and neighbours, the ones I know and the ones I have yet to meet.

Natalie said...

I feel that we would do very well to find that balance. In each situation, I ask myself "What would Jesus do?"
If my ego is behaving that day (ie not many fears) then I am the model of empathy and compassion. If I am feeling unsafe and wobbly, then I am more inclined to be half hearted in my efforts. I am still compassionate, but ever aware that i may need to self preserve at any moment.

Brenda Susan said...

Good stuff mr. bear. I agree more than you probably expect. Love the celtic view of life!


I am a loner by choice and circumstances, but you mentioned seeking community. My sister just paid a visit to me because I was dwelling in the land of Dana, and mourning things "dana" related.

She mentioned community. I stifled a gag reflex. Now you mention it.

Now I need to start being more accepting of these strange people in this strange land, who seem rather opinionated and grating on my nerves.


Rob-bear said...

® Natalie: The balance of self-preservation and reaching out to others is not easy to achieve. Indeed. Thanks.

® Brenda Susan: I don't know what I expect, but I do know you are a kind and thoughtful woman. And the Celtic life: I'm currently reading a book by J. Philip Newell. Thanks for sharing.

® Beau's Mom: Great minds think alike, or something. Yes, we do "get by with a little help from our neighbours," to change a phrase slightly. Even the opinionated ones, sometimes. Thanks.