Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Word Among US ME ME ME US

So every morning I read my wife Karen the daily readings from Mass.  We then read two commentaries - one in a book published by the Daughters of St. Paul, who believe in God; the other by the folks who publish The Word Among Us, who apparently don't.  Well, I'm using hyperbole here.  Of course they believe in God.  They just think all this religion-thing is much less about God and much more about us - you and me, as we are here and now and don't change a thing, baby - you're perfect!

Today the Daughters talked about the Parable of the Praying Pharisee and the Praying Tax Collector (from Luke 18), and of course simply pointed out that the parable teaches us that we're at greater risk if we take pride in what we think is our holiness than we are if we humbly and sorrowfully acknowledge our sin.

Whoever wrote the commentary in The Word Among Us, by contrast (I would swear it was Stanford Nutting - except I'm Stanford Nutting) assures us that the point of the parable is this (I swear I am not making this up) .
Let that truth sink in: God loves you just as you are.
Oh, yes.  The lesson is not "he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted".  Why would that be the lesson of the parable?  That's only the interpretation of the parable given by Jesus Christ, the man who told it, the man who is also God.  Forget Him!

The correct reading of Luke 18:9-14 is GOD LOVES YOU JUST AS YOU ARE.

Of course, if God loves us just as we are, then He loves the prideful Pharisee, who spends his time in the temple congratulating himself for being "just the way he is", while the tax collector beats his breasts and desires to be changed so as no longer to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of his mind (see Romans 12:2).  And yet what difference does it make?  God loves us all the same - JUST THE WAY WE ARE!!!!  Pharisee or tax collector, abortion doctor or Mother Teresa, adulterer or pure of heart, child-raping sodomite or Billy Graham - IT'S ALL GOOD!!!!!

[Apparently, I've ranted about these guys before - "Trying God".  And of course the whole point of working out our salvation is that God loves us - but not just as we are.]


Benjamin. said...

Doesn't God love everybody, even those not saved?

Kevin O'Brien said...

Yes, but He doesn't love us AS WE ARE. He loves us into the creatures He made us to be. His love is not content with our sin; His love is not content with our rejection of Him.

Kevin O'Brien said...

And also, even though God loves everybody, even those not saved, THAT'S NOT THE POINT OF THE PARABLE!!!!

Scott W. said...

As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways

Ezekiel 33: 11

Benjamin. said...

Right, the parable if I remember was about repentance.

Tom Leith said...

So, what, are you reading The Word Among Us to get material for Standford? I mean, I'd have burnt it by now.

Kevin O'Brien said...

The missus has let her subscription lapse.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Benjamin, your gloss - "Right, the parable if I remember was about repentance." - said more in nine words than "The Word Among Us" did in 1500 or so.

Mrs. Pinkerton said...

A priest friend of ours once said: "God loves you just as you are! And the devil loves you even more that way."

Anonymous said...

I used to read "Word Among Us" waaay back in the 1980s, when I was still somewhat peripherally involved in the Catholic charismatic movement.

The only thing I remember of the publication from that era is that continual recurrence of the phrase "Our minds are so unreliable concerning the Word of God...." They were always emphasizing that you could not rely on human knowledge or intellect to discern the meaning of Scripture, only upon the Spirit. In retrospect, that sounds like a very fundamentalist Protestant approach.

Other than that, however, I don't recall seeing anything that was obviously heretical or contrary to Catholic teaching. (In those days, it seemed as if charismatic Catholics were the ones most likely to be orthodox in their belief and practice.) Have they changed drastically in the last 25 years?