21 February 2005

It's not the works...it's not the works...

Lately, I've had to revisit my personal perspective towards righteousness and rewards. It seems no matter how hard I try, no matter how consciously I know it, I can't seem to stop functioning as if I can earn my salvation. Am I the only one that falls into this trap? Surely there are others who find themselves going through the motions of goodness out of fear instead of desire for relationship. I've read a few blogs recently from various individuals who struggle also with the concept of Christianity being a fear-based religion. I guess my personal struggle is not so obvious or grandious. For me, it comes home in the little things. Like choosing a congregation, church or clique. Or in my speech. Or secrets. If you know me at all, you know I've never been the cool kid, never been part of the 'in' crowd, never been an object of desire. Most of the time I just make people uncomfortable, at least those who didn't cross the street when they saw me coming. ;-) It's one thing to be intellectually large, it's another to be intellectually clumsy. My appearance is changing, my aptitude is not. As I learn to fit my new skin, to embrace my new reality I've been realizing how compartmentalized my life is. In being open to all, I naively impact very few. I may not judge how people speak or dress or their taste in music. But I do let them judge me. See...there is that fear again. There goes that living by works again. Shouldn't I be me regardless of who I'm with? That's not really fair. Time has told, and predicaments have proven that I am still me regardless of the situation. I choose the same choices, I hold the same beliefs. I offend the same people, I eat the same crow. I stand up for the same reasons, I open my mouth with the same insensitivity. I discern with the same alacrity, expose the same lucidity. Me is me, and stays me. More so than many others. Few would disagree that my sense of self is less than sure and solid. With this in mind, the loophole I've been slipping through becomes clear in distinctly Holmes-ian fashion. I remain me, but impact so futilely those around me because I offer so little that IS me, outward. What a totally insidious and devious trick to play on oneself. I can't fail if I don't try. I can't be judged if I haven't done anything? Like the servant in Matthew 25: He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' How did I end up being that guy? When did I start living by fear? That's SO not me. Or at least not who I want to be. Now comes the change. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

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