Art of Persistence

"The art of love ... is largely the art of persistence." -Albert Ellis

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bumper Sticker Theology

On my homeward commute yesterday, I passed a car with a bumper sticker that read, "God is too big to fit into one religion." I understand the sentiment behind this bumper sticker. I, too, am tired of hearing people who seem eager to assign others to the flames of perdition. But I am downright annoyed with the adherents of this self-congratulatory-open-minded-ism who seem eager to assign others to the category of the ignorant and narrow-minded.

Just now, as I awoke for my nightly struggle with insomnia,I thought of course God is too big to fit into one religion. But that kind of thinking is based on a tacit assumption that religion is a man-made thing. I wonder if those with this bumper sticker ever paused to consider that God is too big even for their syncretistic irreligious religion.

See apophaticism or via negativa.

Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (belated)

I was thinking last week of the old joke about a pastor giving an insightful sermon about the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. He urged his congregation to be like the Publican, focused on his own sins and his need for repentance. He warned them not to be like the Pharisee, congratulating himself that he wasn't as bad as somebody else. The pastor then ended in a prayer, "We thank you, Lord, that we are not like the Pharisee."

This story always makes me chuckle. But last week I realized that behind the chuckling was a voice saying, "I thank you, Lord, that I am not like that pastor." Then I thought about the infinite regress that such thinking can lead to. "I thank you, Lord, that I am not like the man who is thankful for not being like the pastor who was unwittingly like the Pharisee."

I'm thankful for wisdom of the church teaches us to pray: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.