Sunday, July 8, 2018

problematic paginations

I want to be good.

But that's not the project of Christianity. We're not called to be good, what we’re called to be is better. Call no man good, except your Father who is in heaven. The project of being good—that tempting, tantalizing project—whose goal, once reached, means that I can shed all my dependency on exterior indications of my own goodness. No, once I am good, I will know—with finality and certainty— that I am right. That what I do and say is correct, that I am, and forevermore will be, right. That glorious golden future redeems me from the anxiety of submitting myself to what is other, on placing my entire being on the will of a God who stands above me. Once I, myself, am good, I no longer have to wait on the will of another, I do not have to enter in to the messy vulnerability of morality, which may (quelle horreur!) prove some of my actions to be wrong.

I leave confession, and the corresponding wash of relief over me takes the shape of a sigh whose verbal content is: Oh God, I hope I never have to go back there. It is nearly unconscious, this desire. But it is there. It is just a slight shade away from being correct. It is an indication that the project I am undertaking is slightly off-target from the project of the reconciliation I was seeking.

Realistically, I know the odds are that I end up back in that confession line, sandwiched again between a mother and her child and an elderly gentleman. So why do I pretend, in the great relief of cleanliness, that this is a state which will never fluctuate? Health does not seem to mean one is ever fully healed, but, at least for the duration of human life, continuously healing. Our love is never pure, but only becomes gradually less impure.

I want to be good, but even that desire seems to need to subject itself to the project of becoming better. Better implies a goal, and that goal, in the case of this particular project, is intimately mine and not me.

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