By ‘the authenticity meme’, I mean that picture of the self which suggests that what is real, what is true, what is most properly me, is what goes on inside, behind closed doors, away from the distorting, inauthentic traffic of social life. I mean that picture of the self which suggests that my task is to work on the deceitful surface of my life – all the faces that I present in interactions with others, in groups, in institutions, in society – until it becomes transparent to the authentic depths of who I am. I mean that picture of the self which suggests that you have not met me – not the real me – until I have become authentic with you.
In the face of this corrosive myth, I offer a counter-myth.
I claim that I become who I am only with and through others – and that I discover who I am only in company. Who I am. That is: what I can contribute, what my real strengths and weaknesses are, what I need, what I want, what I can give, how responsive I can be. All these are not sitting there quietly inside me, waiting only upon sufficient introspection, a sufficient effort of honesty, to become clear to me and so expressible to others. Rather, they will emerge (both in the sense of becoming visible and in the sense of coming into being) as I enter seriously into conversation with others, experimenting, exploring, trying out, working – and so finding what resistances and what possibilities emerge over the course of those conversations. And the self I find in the process will be, and can only be, something that both discovered and made in the process. That is, the self I find would have been different had my conversation partners been different, and would have been different had it been someone else engaging with these same conversation partners – but there is in principle and in practice no sorting out what I have brought to this self from what others have brought to it. – Mike Higton, “Authenticity”
It’s the full story of life crushed into 4 minutes. The entirety of humanity in the palm of your hand crushed into one sentence. Listen its intense right. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life. The greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told. God. Yes. God. The maker and giver of life. And by life I mean any and all manner and substance. Seen and unseen. What can and can be touched. Thoughts, image, emotions, love, atoms and oceans. God. All of it his handy work. One of which is masterpiece. Made so uniquely that angels looked curiously. The one thing in creation that was made with his imagery. The concept so cold. It’s the reason I stay bold, how God breathed in the man and he became a living soul. Formed with the intent of being infinitely intimately fond. Creator and creation held in eternal bold. And it was placed in perfect paradise til something went wrong. A species got deceived and started lusting for his job. An odd list of complaints as if the system ain’t working and used that same breath he graciously gave us to curse him. And that sin seed spread though our soul’s genome. And by nature of your nature, your species, you participated in the mutiny. Our. Yes. Our sins. Its nature inherited, lack in the human heart, it was over before it started. Deceived from day one and lead away by our own lusts. There’s not a religion in the word that doesn’t agree that something’s wrong with us. The question is what is it? And how do we fix it? Are we eternally separated from a God that may or not have existed? But that’s another subject. Let’s keep grinding. Besides trying to prove God is like defending a lion homie, it don’t need your help, just unlock the cage. Let’s move on how our debt can be paid. Short and sweet. The problem is Sin. Yes. Sin. It’s a cancer. An asthma. Choking out our life force. Forcing separation from a perfect and holy God and the only way to get back is to get back to perfection but silly us, trying to pass the course of life without referring to a syllabus. This is us. Heap up your good deeds. Chant, pray, meditate but all of that of course is spreading colon on a corpse. Or you could choose to ignore it as if something don’t stink. It’s like stepping it dog poop and refusing to wipe your shoe and all of that ends with how good is good enough. Take your silly list of good deeds and line them up against perfection, good luck. That’s life past your pay grade. The cost of your soul you ain’t gotta big enough piggy bank. But you can give it a shot. But I suggest you throw away the list cause even your good acts are an extension of your selfishness. But here’s where it gets interesting. I hope your closely listening. Please don’t get it twisted. It’s what makes our faith unique. Here’s what God says is Part A of the gospel. You can’t fix yourself. Quit trying it’s impossible. Sin brings death. Give God his breath back. You owe him. Eternally separated and the only way to fix it is someone die in your place and that someone gotta be perfect. Or the payment ain’t permanent. So if and when you find the perfect person, get him or her to willing trade their perfection for your sin and death in. Clearly since the only one that can meet God’s criteria is God. God sent himself as Jesus to pay the cost for us. His righteousness, his death, functions as payment. Yes. Payment. Wrote a check with his life but at the resurrection we all cheered cause that means the check cleared. Pierced feet, pierced hands, blood stained son of man. Fullness forgiveness free passage into the promise land, that same breath God breathed into us God gave it up to redeem us. And anyone and everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who puts their faith in trust in him and him alone can stand in full confidence of God’s forgiveness. And here’s what the promise is, that you are guaranteed full access to return the perfect unity. By simply believing in Christ in Christ alone. You are receiving life. Yes. Life. This is the Gospel. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life.
– Jason Petty
“They say all foxes are slightly allergic to linoleum, but it’s cool to the paw, try it. They say my tail needs to be dry cleaned twice a month, but now it’s fully detachable, see? They say our tree may never grow back, but one day, something will. Yes, these crackles are made of synthetic goose and these giblets come from artificial squab and even these apples look fake—but at least they’ve got stars on them. I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life.”
― Mr. Fox
“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” – Screwtape
He remained what he was; what he was not, he assumed. No “because” is required for his existence in the beginning, for what could account for the existence of God? But later he came into being because of something, namely your salvation… He was carried in the womb, but acknowledged by a prophet as yet unborn himself, who leaped for joy at the presence of the Word for whose sake he had been created. He was wrapped in swaddling bands, but at the Resurrection he unloosed the swaddling bands of the grave. He was laid in a manger, but was extolled by angels, disclosed by a star and adored by Magi… He was exiled into Egypt, but he banished the Egyptian idols… As man he was baptized, but he absolved sins as God; he needed no purifying rites himself—his purpose was to hallow water… He hungered—yet he fed thousands. He is indeed “living, heavenly bread.” He thirsted—yet he exclaimed: “Whosoever thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” Indeed he promised that believers would become fountains. He was tired—yet he is the “rest” of the weary and the burdened. He was overcome by heavy sleep—yet he goes lightly over the sea, rebukes winds, and relieves the drowning Peter… He weeps, yet he puts an end to weeping. He asks where Lazarus was laid—he was man; yet he raises Lazarus—he was God. He is sold, and cheap was the price—thirty pieces of silver; yet he buys back the world at the mighty cost of his own blood. A sheep, he is led to the slaughter—yet he shepherds Israel and now the whole world as well… He is weakened, and wounded—yet he cures every disease and every weakness. He is brought up to the tree and nailed to it—yet by the tree of life he restores us… He is given vinegar to drink, gall to eat—and who is he? Why, one who turned water into wine, who took away the taste of bitterness, who is all sweetness and desire. He surrenders his life, yet he has power to take it again… He dies, but he vivifies and by death destroys death. He is buried, yet he rises again. He goes down to Hades, yet he leads souls up, ascends to heaven, and will come to judge the quick and the dead…
St. Gregory of Nazianzus, from The Third Theological Oration (Oration 29.19-20) via Wes Hill
Life has been good. Faithfulness is the theme. Not my faithfulness …in fact, to be honest with you I find NO unadulterated faithfulness in and of myself (to be sure there is the appearance of faithfulness from time to time, but when you get down into the roots of what appears to be “my faithfulness” it turns out to be greed or something worse). I am fickle. However I am the recipient of true faithfulness. I’m not talking imitation faithfulness – though if left to myself I would TOTALLY settle for the imitation brand (mostly because I’m an idiot who is guided and governed by my fleeting emotions, appetites, and distorted orientations). I’m talking about AUTHENTIC – GRADE A – faithfulness. Faithfulness – by definition – won’t quit, but at the risk of sounding redundant I must tell you – – – I am the recipient of FAITHFULNESS THAT WON’T QUIT! I want my life to be fulfilling. I want my life to be satisfying. I want to experience good things. However, I am very doubtful that I can actually produce a lasting version of these things in my own strength. I am insecure. I am rampantly afraid of failure. I am averse to risk …and it’s a massive RISK to rely on myself! You see my predicament!? But here’s the good news – – – > I don’t determine or define my ultimate satisfaction, or fulfillment! I want a great life! And I shall have it because I have been chosen by One who is faithful. This is surreal, and frankly – much of the time – unbelievable! I so easily forget this (sometimes for days on end), but it’s not contingent on my memory, nor my feelings, nor my efforts. It’ll happen because the faithful One sez so!