Monday, June 8, 2009

Grace: Who Needs It?

"It is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:5, 8.

Saved Through Grace by Faith is a common slogan printed on colorful t-shirts and worn by Christians of diverse denominational background. Grace as a spiritual concept is particular to Christianity, it's Greek word charis is found for the first time in the New Testament. Grace is a belief that though we are creatures born wicked, we are saved from condemnation; a mercy given by God through Christ. In order to embrace this belief, however, one must first accept that we are, in fact, a wicked people.

No one wants to believe he is wicked. It is more common to think that though we may sometimes make poor choices, we are not bad people. Herein lies the problem we face with receiving God's grace: in order to receive it, we must accept that we need it; that we are people of iniquity who must make a conscious effort to always do the right thing.

Post-modernism has managed to convince the average citizen that there is a social-psychological reason for every bad deed we do. Long story short, we are not responsible, nor should we be held accountable for our behavior. We had a difficult childhood, one in which we were isolated, emotionally, sexually, and/or physically abused. We were misinformed, miseducated, misunderstood. We were born into an unjust society, marginalized, ostracized, disenfranchised. We have a family history of alcoholism and/or drug abuse, it’s our mother’s neglect, our father’s absence. We suffer from toxic stress, economic oppression, a chemical imbalance or disorder, bi-polar, manic depression, compulsive obsession. Even daily living is reason enough to excuse us from our nasty selves.

If the individual can justify her behavior, then a country may not even have to provide explanation for its wickedness: a nation must do whatever is necessary to preserve the welfare of its people. The means necessary is open to subjective suggestion, national welfare can range in distribution, and which population of people is served is based on the ruling party’s own volition. As leading nations are abdicated from liability, its people follow by example. In other words, what is right is relative to the general times, current leadership, and the most persuasive opinion.

Moral conviction is now an outside intruder, self-righteously imposing it’s judgment on society, (and almost certainly pushed by right-wing conservative bible-thumpers, an easy label that at once dismisses and condemns anyone who might stand up for a belief that is centered on spiritual principals.) What remains is a more accepting, inclusive pluralist society in which I’m okay and you’re okay and it’s all good. Who could ask for anything more? Further, why do we need grace at all?

To Be Continued…..

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