Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Differences

This post is indirectly about fat.

I am in the process of switching my Christian tradition. I have been a Fundamentalish Protestant Christian for forty years. I am now ponderously moving toward the Catholic tradition. Is different. Fundamentally, no pun intended, different. I am not talking about The Real Presence in the Eucharist, Mariology, Purgatory, confession or Saintly intercession. Those are given differences. This is something else. Something I am having a hard time grasping. It has to do with self respect and self love.

I was taught to regard myself as a sinner saved by Grace. My past, present and future sins were forgiven if and when I repented, but my soul would always retain the effects of original sin. I was going to Heaven because of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross but my life on earth would be fraught with sin because of my "original sin" nature. I would spend my life being a victim of Satan who had access to my soul (and my actions) through my sin nature. I could expect my life to be a litany (no pun) of sin and repentance. I was going to sin, I had no choice, it was part and parcel of who I was. It was my job was to be on constant alert for sin and promptly repent of it. I was also taught all sin was the same in the eyes of God. He cannot look at sin so swearing and murder brought the same end, separation from God. I have spent years feeling like a sinful worm grateful to a picky god who out of regal magnanimity was willing to "save a wretch like me."

Okay so I began attending these RCIA classes. My husband calls them Roman Catholic Indoctrination Activities. The first thing they told me is that my original sin was removed when I was baptized. What???? Removed???? Who came up with that crack pot notion? Jesus it turns out. My whole world suddenly flipped on its' head. This was in the first damn class. (I am also learning about mortal and venial sin.) If I was not, while in this mortal coil, bent irrevocably by and toward sin who was I? It has taken me a couple of months to figure it out.

I am not a sinner. I am the Beloved of God made in the Triune Image and given His greatest gifts, life and choice. Yes there is a tempter and I will always be tempted. Sometimes I will sin because I am willful. But, Oh I love that word, but, I can choose not to sin. I am not condemned by my very nature to sin. Was painful to believe myself both the agent of sin and the sinned against. I was at war within. My nature is not sinner or victim of sin but Beloved. Good News indeed.

Now what does all of that have to do with fat? If I am not at my very core a sinner but a Beloved I (who sometimes gives in to the temptation and makes poor choices) can and should love and respect myself. I am not a victim of Lucifer or his minion me. I am a free Beloved. Who the Son has set free is free indeed. I do not have to live an out of control sin-full life. I have choice. I have free will. I have a working will. I thought it was broken. Bent by sin and never to be of any use to me. NOT. I am not a victim. Thanks be to God.

Damn. I may be going overboard with this venial sin thing. My obsession with sugar is not gone. I still eat over my emotions...but I don't have to. I can make different choices. I most time still make bad choices. I am cutting myself some slack. My will is weak. I haven't used it in forty years. I pray for strength and have started exercising my will. I don't like the exercise. It hurts. I am a whimp and lazy. But, I am a Beloved lazy whimp not a victimized stuck sinner. And it makes all the difference.

Pray for me as I will for thee.

Love Bea

10 comments:

Vickie said...

you have explained very well why many catholics sort of scratch their heads over the whole fundamentalist philosophy. (to be honest, it seems anti-christian.)

catholics can go into an area (take africa for example) and HELP without thinking they have to convert everyone to save them. if people want to convert, more power to them. But if they are of another faith, they are accepted how/as they are/what they believe and are thought to be going to their version of heaven same as a catholic.

I look (personally) at all the other christian religions and think 'splinter group' because they all split with the catholic church at some point over a specific point. or perhaps over power. I literally think of it as a big old family tree of lineage. and I understand there is the power issue and there is corruption and there are other negative things. I personally think of those things 'of man' and not of the religion. and I also think there are people who gravitate toward religion as a means of seeking power or finding victims. but again, that is 'of man' to me and does not have anything to do with the church itself. (the same way a pedophile is attracted to becoming a boy scout leader to gain access).

Bea said...

I have been thinking about Vickie's comment about Fundamentalism seeming Unchristian. It isn't. It does feel unkind. I think that is because the Trinity is felt as separate beings. Not taught that way, just felt. Father God of justice, Son Jesus as Savior and friend and Holy Spirit as power for the engine of faith. I felt loved by Christ but not loved by God or the Holy Spirit. For me, Jesus meek and mild, was overshadowed by a strict authoritarian God and His helper the Holy Spirit who lurked in my soul keeping tabs on my every thought and move. (The Catholics call this sort of thinking scrupulosity.)

I freely admit to misinterpreting some of what I was taught. But not all of it.

I find I can't do strict Calvinism either. Same problem. Not kind.

I watch Women of Grace daily. The Shroud of Turin is this week's topic. In the study of the Shroud a 3D photo was made of the face on the burial cloth. Stopped me cold. I have never seen such a kind face. Reinforced what I am finding in the Catholic Church. A kind God who loves me.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I was raised baptist and still go there although we have also been Episcopal and PCA depending on where we lived.

I can't comment on the Catholic beliefs as I'm not familiar with them. What I can comment on is that it can be very damaging emotionally to think of your eating in terms of sin. I attended a weight loss class once at our PCA church called "Weigh Down" and it was full of negative uses of scripture that were designed to make us feel guilty for all the bad decisions we made with regards to food.

I'm glad you are working through this.

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