My internet 'fast' did not seem to produce any striking benefits in my spiritual status - but one thing that came to the fore was to re-experience the conviction that the greatest enemy to salvation is a hard, closed, cold and cynical heart.
This seems to be the most difficult thing to overcome; because it has such a high opinion of itself.
And it is a factor in many religious people, and it is (I feel) characteristic of many Christian denominations - perhaps especially in the public arena, in debate and dispute.
The hard heart shows itself in many ways:
The Right Man - the man who is - and always has been - right about everything (he sees himself as nobody's fool - others may be deceived, but not him!).
The Oppressed Woman - no matter how objectively privileged, she is being treated unequally when it comes to the good things in life: her situation is making her feel bad; and her sense of hurt is an absolute, metaphysical injustice which requires immediate remedy.
Other versions of this hardness of heart feel resentment in terms of their class, race, region, sexuality... in the end everything is evaluated and judged from the perspective of, and in terms of, this victim-status.
The Oppressed Woman is thus a variant of the Right Man - because, ultimately and as the bottom line, nothing is their fault.
The Cynical Adolescent - the hard-nosed sentimentalist, beady-eyed and harsh toned in criticism of others and a prickly crybaby in terms of sensitivity to the criticisms of others; sees himself as the subject only to science and logic but also 'passionate' about things which are exempted from this requirement. Sensation-seeking but lazy. Extravert but selfish. Fickle but moralistic. And so on...
The ultra-correct Christian - a man with a formula. The formula may be a model of church authority, a highly specific idea of tradition, a set of rituals, a way of reading scripture, some creeds or rules especially prohibitions and practices... Christianity is seen 'legalistically' - in Pharisaic terms. Christianity by committee. No need for Love - indeed no place for it.
In other words, I would much rather that people had soft, open, warm, child-like hearts and were wrong; than that they believed, said and did everything right - but had hard, closed, cold and cynical hearts.
I would much rather a child-like, simple, loving Christianity that is full or errors and inconsistencies; than the opposite.
And these opposites, precisely, may be the only actually-available options.
Love is primary - and can save from any situation at any time; but the rejection of Love is terminal - and often self-reinforcing.
I absolutely demand of religion that it be sweet - and no amount of correctness, toughness, power or courage can compensate for its lack; because a religion without sweetness cannot be truly Christian and can become utterly demonic, while sweetness will always have a door open to salvation.
This is a wonderful and very true observation.
I agree. It's also food for thought. Thank you.
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