Sunday, October 23, 2005

salvation contemplation

i have been thinking a lot this week about my understanding of salvation. i met with my rector yesterday and talked with him about it. i need to schedule an appointment with my spiritual director as well, an 80-something year old nun from the community of the holy spirit.
my priest had some interesting insights about looking more to the small "s" salvations that happen during a lifetime, al-anon being one for me, that certainly saved my life. i've had other experiences of small "s" salvation as well.
in talking with him i articulated my two understandings about sin. intellectually, i understand sin to be the delusional belief that we are separated from god and then we act out in that belief and that f's things up really amazingly. i believe that christ and other religious or spiritual traditions work to help us get past that fallacy. through al-anon, i turn my will and my life over to god on a daily basis, several times a day in fact.
i get to talk about god and my personal experience of god in al-anon, in ways that i can't do at church. i get to act out that experience of god in church, which i can't do in al-anon as it's a spiritual program, not a religious one. in monastic orders you get to do both.
in my heart of hearts though, i can't get past my belief that sin is bad, a part of me that's bad. i go to confession once a year at holy week and it's always a gut-wrenching experience because it's so tied up in this belief that there is something bad in me. on a personal level, this comes from messages i got from a very crazy family member when i was really young and they are so internalized, i don't know that in my whole lifetime i will really get completely though that. but, there's something traditional and archetypal about it as well. the church kept people under control by selling them the idea that we were intrinsically bad and needed saving and only jesus does that and you need to go through the church to get that salvation. and of course, women are lower than men and "worse" and need salvation big time, salvation according to the european, patriarchal church. my church is not like that, i am not like that but the hangover of that ancient idea exists in chrisitianity today.
i am turning this all over to god. i'm working with god to loosen up these historical hysterical beliefs and get to peel a layer off the onion and get to know god in a closer way.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks for your email re: Convent Files. I, too, count AlAnon as one of the ways God has saved / is saving me. And I resonate with the nutso family thing... I thank God daily for giving me a family in religious life that I would not have even known how to ask for. They are so good for me and to me. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

Joy, novice ACJ

seeking_something said...

Briefly, St. Agustine of Hippo concluded that God made everything that exists, that God is all-good, and therefore all that God made is good. It's good to begin with, but may get corrupted. Anyhow, the bottom line is that because we are created by God, we were created good.

Hey, I like dogs. All, shapes, sizes, colors, personalities and quirkiness. I know that sometimes they can't help themselves--they gotta chase that squirrel, get out of the yard, dig that hole, give me that dumb look when I tell them to drop that cat and let it go, etc. I may get mad at them, but I still like them. God made you. He made you just the way he wanted, just to do that task he has for you. He knows you inside and out, and sometimes he laughs at your idiosyncrasies, but he's right there to guide you to where he wants you.

The way I see it, salvation is not free. But you don't have to earn it either because you can't. Instead, you have to enter into it, participate in it. The victory is won, we need only to enter into that victory.

Anonymous said...

My favorite definition of sin (not that I collect them) comes from the translation of the Hebrew word for it: to miss the mark.

If sin is missing the mark then perhaps salvation is getting back on track.

Your fan,