(My Journey Thus Far...)
I am sharing a journey with you; in some parts I have what amounts to informed knowledge, in others this is not the case. Thus far the journey surely includes some blind spots, biases and insufficient study-- for which I take full responsibility. Obviously I am not a theologian, either. Keep in mind what was attributed to a fellow who once aspired to be president of the US: “Always listen to a man when he is describing the faults of others. Most times he is describing his own, revealing himself”. That said, it is expected that some at least may join with me in this journey, and some will not. I am grateful for both persuasions. This is dedicated to my son Douglas--just a smidgen of return for all he has given to me. NLK
Pridefulness among Christians, as self-pride, would appear to constitute an oxymoron-- and not only at first glance, (although some unfriendly critics have complained of an air of smugness, if not arrogance, within the born-again community). Yet among those outside the pale there appears a powerful tendency to bank on themselves, on some kind of self-power and one’s own control over life’s demands. Especially those who have somehow survived the wounds, or perhaps the self-defeat of “overgiving” in past relationships, the attitude seems to be: “why take chances on others, (or even God), others who may not really care, may just leave, become abusive, take advantage, cheat and lie, fall out of love-- or even die, as so many are wont to do-- I’ll be sufficient unto myself!” Suspicious, rather timorously boastful at times (and sadly enough seeing the past as both present and future), the movement here is from a vision of our human frailty that is extended to God, now made in our image.
As we know from Holy Scripture only boasting in the Lord is acceptable, (1 Cor. 1:31 and 2 Cor.10:17). In Romans 3:27 we find “Where is boasting? It is excluded...” except ofcourse, in the Lord. Exclusive personal pridefulness is out. (The same throughout the Bible, an Old Testament view of pride is given in Daniel 4:30-31
Christian conduct seen in Stephen’s behavior is probably an exemplary model for most of us. His seemed a spiritually dogged determination, as opposed to the old college try, preoccupied as that often is with winning versus losing. He clearly carried out just what the Lord asked of him promptly, and then went right on with the rest of what life he had left to him, according to the Lord’s will. Even in his death he followed closely in the footsteps of Jesus. While his final words must surely win souls by sheer example, that would appear to be a secondary effect. Recall however, that a young man named Saul stood by and participated in bringing about Stephen’s violent death.
On reflection Stephen could probably have done no more-- just as Christians might customarily aim to do no less. Surely we do not earn extra credit for doing what we are supposed to do. Stephen could only give back to God that which God had given him. There is, after all, no other giver and no other source.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND ‘’CHRISTIAN PRIDE’’ Part 1
(My Journey Thus Far...)