Is It Sinful to Take a Minimalist View of Faith?
(12-14-2009, 12:19 AM)actiofidei Wrote:
(12-14-2009, 12:13 AM)nsper7 Wrote:
(12-14-2009, 12:11 AM)actiofidei Wrote:
(12-14-2009, 12:04 AM)nsper7 Wrote:
Quote:Well, if you don't love Him, will you listen anyway? The way you speak, it sounds like you are intent upon living your own will whatever the consequences. It seems clear, from the dozens of voices talking with you now about this very topic, that God is trying to tell you something. You need to give up your own will and take up Christ's. Period. It is not a bitter thing to have his will done in our lives rather than our own. It is horribly painful for the egoist, but the pain having been endured, we are opened up to a much more beautiful world. Like the pain of a doctor's medicine, it is necessary to overcome the illness within us in order to live a fuller, happier life.

But I don't want to at the moment and certainly not at the barrel of a gun. Is Christ truly saying make My will into yours or burn in Hell? Is that Salvation? If so, isn't the Church lying then when it says obey the precepts, but the counsels are not required to be Saved?

It's only "love Me or die" because we are talking about loving Life itself. It's only "love Me or suffer" because we are talking about loving Goodness himself. Don't you see? It is not at gunpoint, it is just the nature of this single, unique relationship. It is our relationship with Life, with Goodness, with Happiness, with Love Incarnate. It is obvious what rejecting This means. It is not because he is forcing on us a cruel ultimatum. It is because he IS these things you desire.

But it's almost like I just don't want to have to worry about it. I am enjoying my foray into politics and I don't believe I'm sinning in doing it. So why can't I just enjoy it, move forward and not obsess about wondering what God's Will is?

Giving yourself over to God is the ultimate in "not worrying about it." You can go on in your life in politics. A great beam of light doesn't come down from the sky and invest us in a particular vocation that we must drop everything for and follow. God is subtler than that. If politics isn't God's will for you, He will lead you in the right direction. Complying with God's will is about resignation, not obsession. Why not trust a Father who loves you? By all means, do whatever you want as long as it is not contrary to commandments, but in doing all things, also resolve to live in accordance with God's will as he works in your life.

Now that makes sense. Thank you. And again, I am sorry if I get really intense, even angry, about this stuff, but it is an important issue to suss out in one's own mind because these are...well...important issues.
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God is working a profound grace in your life by making you look at this issue squarely and head on. Please don't let this opportunity pass by. He is doing so because he loves you in a more significant way than we can fathom. It is difficult, because more than anything we desire our own freedom, but it is not until we have obtained true freedom, by loving God, that we realize how ensnared we have been. So please take hold of this grace God is giving you at this very moment. Pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary asking for her assistance and guidance. She said "yes" to God's will many centuries ago. She can help you to better understand His love and His will in your life.
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You've also forced me to look at my own life in the course of this conversation. There is a lot I have to change. Thank you for bringing this to light for me. My prayers are with you. I am truly grateful!
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(12-14-2009, 12:40 AM)actiofidei Wrote: You've also forced me to look at my own life in the course of this conversation. There is a lot I have to change. Thank you for bringing this to light for me. My prayers are with you. I am truly grateful!

What are you having to examine in your own life (if you don't mind me asking)?

Listening to you, it seems like we should follow our desires (as long as they are not openly sinful) and somehow God will guide us and that we do not need to worry about it.
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I don't think these scruples are "a profound grace" in nsper's life at all - scruples never are. They often lead to profound grace because grace works in weakness, but the scruples themselves are sad to hear of. Nsper, no matter how your scruples are distorting your image of God, He's still just as good as everyone's trying to remind you, and if you need a period of what you call a "minimalist" approach - if only to have a break from the scruples which God doesn't want want you to have, then do it. The only reason God emphasizes laws - His "minimum" - is to help us avoid sin and especially to prevent us from forgetting about and leaving Him altogether. A little bit of real, healthy "fear of God" is needed sometimes, because it can keep us on the right track. Look at when the Laws were given to the Israelites, or the times when prophets had to wail at everyone. They were the only things that got through. But scruples and obsessive fear of hell don't come from a healthy "fear of God", they come from original sin, and sometimes even from the bad guy, not that that's what you want to hear! God might actually be wanting you to distance yourself from them for a while, and if you do the "minimum", that's commendable.

In the end, it's Christ who is the revelation of God, and Christ, I hope you agree, is loveable even when His challenges to us are hard. Come on mate, it's nearly Christmas - think of the tenderness of the nativity for a while and the greatness of the Incarnation.

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Quote:I don't think these scruples are "a profound grace" in nsper's life at all - scruples never are. They often lead to profound grace because grace works in weakness, but the scruples themselves are sad to hear of. Nsper, no matter how your scruples are distorting your image of God, He's still just as good as everyone's trying to remind you, and if you need a period of what you call a "minimalist" approach - if only to have a break from the scruples which God doesn't want want you to have, then do it. The only reason God emphasizes laws - His "minimum" - is to help us avoid sin and especially to prevent us from forgetting about and leaving Him altogether. A little bit of real, healthy "fear of God" is needed sometimes, because it can keep us on the right track. Look at when the Laws were given to the Israelites, or the times when prophets had to wail at everyone. They were the only things that got through. But scruples and obsessive fear of hell don't come from a healthy "fear of God", they come from original sin, and sometimes even from the bad guy, not that that's what you want to hear! God might actually be wanting you to distance yourself from them for a while, and if you do the "minimum", that's commendable.

In the end, it's Christ who is the revelation of God, and Christ, I hope you agree, is loveable even when His challenges to us are hard. Come on mate, it's nearly Christmas - think of the tenderness of the nativity for a while and the greatness of the Incarnation.

Thank you for your kind words Benno and, again, I am sorry for working myself up like this. It's almost like once I get started down that track of anger and fear and wondering about why/how we should follow God, it always ends up leading into these outbursts--methinks I will have an interesting talk with my spiritual director the next time I see him and also an interesting next Confession (whenever that is).

I realize it is not an excuse for outbursts (public) and hateful and rebellious thoughts against God (private), but it seems like throughout Scripture there are those who grapple with obedience to and understanding of God's Will (the Prophet Jonah comes to mind, although even Moses did not at first want to go before Pharaoh at God's demand). I realize I need to read Scripture more (haven't read it in awhile...and that may be one of my problem: if I am not getting my knowledge from an authoritative source, whether Scripture, Tradition or the writings of the Magisterium, then it leaves the door open for me to twist things in my head and everything).

But it does seem like the Israelites had things easier. I mean, God was right there with them. Obviously, it seems like obedience is always an issue, but there was less ambiguity in things and God was usually patient with people's shortcoming and fears (i.e. when Moses goes on about not being able to speak well, God lets him let Aaron do the talking even though Moses ends up being the one to challenge Pharaoh; when Gideon is afraid if God is really behind him in overthrowing Israel's conquerors, God is willing to give him multiple signs).
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(12-13-2009, 11:56 PM)obscurus Wrote:
(12-13-2009, 11:40 PM)nsper7 Wrote:
(12-13-2009, 11:40 PM)obscurus Wrote:
(12-13-2009, 11:38 PM)nsper7 Wrote:
(12-13-2009, 11:37 PM)obscurus Wrote:
(12-13-2009, 11:34 PM)nsper7 Wrote: What does it mean to be detached from things? Does it mean I cannot seek wealth, power, etc.? I have goals and desire and I feel that God is always out to ruin whatever I want to do.

The problem is when we set up these things as idols as many in the modern world do.

Does it mean that to follow God we must give up all our desires, hopes and dreams? Is that what it means? Because that seems like Hell right there (minus the fire and torment and God standing over us smiling I mean).

Of course you can have desires, hopes and dreams!! That is part of being human!

But God is just waiting to pull us away from them, isn't He?

Okay I am about to rend my garments. I suspect the problem is that you have a distorted notion of God's nature.

I suspect the problem here is that you want attention...Get a life...quit acting like a 12yo...
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(12-14-2009, 07:24 AM)matthew_talbot Wrote: I suspect the problem here is that you want attention...Get a life...quit acting like a 12yo...

obscurus?


nsper7, maybe you are struggling with the concept of "love". You don't need to feel it, but choose it. You can always improve yourself, so if at this time you feel stuck, you can just do what you are supposed to do, and work on your spiritual life over time. Maybe you will never get beyond "I do this because I must", but if that is the best you can do, then God will be pleased with your efforts.
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(12-14-2009, 03:35 AM)Benno Wrote: I don't think these scruples are "a profound grace" in nsper's life at all - scruples never are. They often lead to profound grace because grace works in weakness, but the scruples themselves are sad to hear of. Nsper, no matter how your scruples are distorting your image of God, He's still just as good as everyone's trying to remind you, and if you need a period of what you call a "minimalist" approach - if only to have a break from the scruples which God doesn't want want you to have, then do it. The only reason God emphasizes laws - His "minimum" - is to help us avoid sin and especially to prevent us from forgetting about and leaving Him altogether. A little bit of real, healthy "fear of God" is needed sometimes, because it can keep us on the right track. Look at when the Laws were given to the Israelites, or the times when prophets had to wail at everyone. They were the only things that got through. But scruples and obsessive fear of hell don't come from a healthy "fear of God", they come from original sin, and sometimes even from the bad guy, not that that's what you want to hear! God might actually be wanting you to distance yourself from them for a while, and if you do the "minimum", that's commendable.

In the end, it's Christ who is the revelation of God, and Christ, I hope you agree, is loveable even when His challenges to us are hard. Come on mate, it's nearly Christmas - think of the tenderness of the nativity for a while and the greatness of the Incarnation.

I suppose this just doesn't look like scruples to me. I've always thought of scrupulosity as when one is living the faith as one ought, but has a distorted view sin. This sounds more like someone who is rejecting the notion of loving God and living His will in the first place being brought back to a new consideration of this point of view. I would say this is grace working in a person's life, if that assessment is correct. If not, well i don't know.
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(12-14-2009, 02:15 AM)nsper7 Wrote:
(12-14-2009, 12:40 AM)actiofidei Wrote: You've also forced me to look at my own life in the course of this conversation. There is a lot I have to change. Thank you for bringing this to light for me. My prayers are with you. I am truly grateful!

What are you having to examine in your own life (if you don't mind me asking)?

Listening to you, it seems like we should follow our desires (as long as they are not openly sinful) and somehow God will guide us and that we do not need to worry about it.

To practice what I preach, more fully. And I would say that your last summary is right, if you add to the end, "as long as we let Him."
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