Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Diagnosis of a Spiritual Malaise

We learn, before we know God and before we understand life, how to respond to threats to our happiness and safety.  If trauma or anxiety or sensitivity is especially present, we end up relying heavily upon our tricks, our defense mechanisms.

And it seems for all of us that amounts to this ...

  • Assuaging Worldly Fear by means of Egotistical Control

We assert an Unreality, we build a house cards, we sail to and wall in a "happy neurotic island", we create a bubble.  This Toy Theater World is a kind of man-made miniature version of the Kingdom of God, in which every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more death (Rev. 21:4).  This utopia or artificial paradise that we build is always out of touch with reality, since we are sinners and we cannot make heaven, we can only receive it.  But "make it" is what we try to do anyway.

Sometimes we find that artificial utopia through drugs or sex - great shortcuts to euphoria; though true euphoria comes only through God's Kingdom, and, as Paul reminds us, "It is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)  You can't get there from here - at least not by means of a painless short cut.  

Sometimes we find that artificial utopia through a friend or a group of friends or a love affair or a false family like a theater troupe or support group. We try to make our Neurotic Island happy.  Maybe if we work hard enough at our careers, we'll get there, find the love we desire and float away on the happy bubble before it bursts.

But it always bursts.  That's what bubbles do.  The drugs lead to addiction and misery, the affair ends in squabbles and accusations, the work-aholism gives us heart attacks and strokes and keeps us from watching our kids grow up.  

For he who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34), and the essence of sin - at least when viewed from a psycho-mechanical viewpoint is assuaging worldly fear by means of egotistical control.

The immediate answer to this is repentance.  Stop doing it.  But that's not as easy as Bob Newhart makes it sound in this famous hilarious sketch ...

1 comment:

Tom Leith said...

I hope she has a single, because now she owes him for six minutes.