Is morality the flint that sparks the desire in a person to follow Jesus? Or is the desire to follow Jesus the flint that sparks morality. What are you doing to spark the desire in your neighbor to follow Jesus?
Get off your thrones and get on the witness stand to give testimony about the sweet and the sour truth. We need witnesses not rulers. The appeal that needs to be made is to our rationality not to our obedience. Our faculty of obedience is broken. This has been known since the age of Adam and Eve. It is ludicrous to appeal to our obedience when you know it is broken.
The goal of morality is to get us to govern ourselves. This is not accomplished by stuffing our heads with rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. This is accomplished by filling our hearts with love. Proper behavior is the fruit of a heart filled with love not a head filled with stuff. How do you fill a heart with love? Only love begets love.
It is irrational to expect the children of Adam and Eve to behave as a Christian behaves and to believe as a Christian believes until after they have become a Christian. Becoming a Christian is the cause of believing and behaving as a Christian. Believing and behaving are the effect of becoming. Let us not confuse cause and effect.
Morality is like a kiss. Imposed by force against the will of its recipient, it is an abomination.
Morality cannot be imposed upon us as a straight jacket is imposed by overpowering a lunatic. It must spring up from within us . Morality is the effect of becoming a Christian not its cause. Morality is the crown of glory that the children of Adam and Eve wear after they become Christian. Morality results from our having close encouters with our living and loving God at the holy places.
The key of morality unlocks the cages of sin.
Morality fails to free us from the cages of sin, however, when our sanctimonious betters try to shove it down our throats against our wills by dint of omnipotence. Under such circumstances, our gag reflex is triggered and we regurgitate it. The prisoner locked in the cage of sin must voluntarily put the key in the cage door to unlock it. That is the only way morality works.
Only pilgrims passing through the Valley of Tears are willing to take the reins of morality into their hands, the bit of morality into their mouths and the bridle of morality onto their heads. Settlers, roosting in the Valley of Tears, have little to no interest in morality. Therefore, to bring morality to the children of Adam and Eve, transform settlers into pilgrims. This is done by fueling their rationality with the truth, both the sour truth and the sweet truth.
Morality is the crown of glory that Christians wear as they make their escape through the Valley of Tears. Morality is the effect of becoming a Christian not its cause. Morality is the roof of a Christian not its foundation. The children need to be taught reading, writing and arithmetic before they can learn calculus. The farmer needs to plow the field and plant the seed before the crop will grow. The children of Adam and Eve needed to become Christians before they will behave as Christians behave.
The Process of Building a Christian
The path to Christianity starts at the feet, moves to the heart and finishes at the head. We become Christians feet first. The head follows the feet as the night follows the day.
First The children of Adam and Eve are introduced to God. They make his acquaintance. They learn that our God is not a hostile stranger but an affectionate friend. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). The seeds of intimacy between us and our God are planted. How?
The Autobiography of God is made known to them. They are made privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Furthermore, they are invited to experience close encounters with our almighty lover at the Holy Places that define the escape route of the new exodus that weaves its way through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharoah to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land .
Next A gospel of irrationality has no appeal to rational creatures. Therefore, we teach the children of Adam and Eve the gospel of rationality. The gospel of rationality teaches that it is in our self-interest to fill our hearts to the brim with love. Love is the "grease" for the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears. Only love gives us the strength to pick up and carry our crosses as we pass through the Valley of Tears.
We are born in the image and likeness of God . God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God .
When we love, the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast is transformed into God . Deification takes place. When we keep love in our hearts, God recognizes himself in us . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another".
Last the byzantine codex of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole of the Church fills our heads. If you do not reach the last step by the time you reach the end of your journey, don't fret. The first two steps are enough. You have succeeded in life if you complete the first two steps.
Get the foundation right and everything falls into place. Get the foundation wrong and everything falls apart. Build a Christian from the foundation up not from the roof down.
The foundation of morality is a heart filled to the brim with love. Therefore, if you want to make people moral, figure out how to fill their hearts to the brim with love.
The Path to Morality Passes through the heart
The path to morality passes through the heart. The perfect morality is the morality that fills the heart to the brim with love. You cannot get a better morality than a heart filled to the brim with love !
When you castrate the heart from the body of morality, the eunuch that you create is a travesty of morality - a bizarre mockery of it. When you bypass the heart, your morality becomes monstrous. Morality fails when its advocates attempt to take a shortcut that bypasses the heart.
We are born in the image and likeness of God . God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. God wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love . When we fill our hearts with love, we become a high fidelity representation of the reality of God . We become the leaven of the kingdom of God . We become agents of God - ambassadors from God to our neighbors.
The Primary Mission and First Priority of the Church is to Introduce God to the Children of Adam and Eve
Have you been properly introduced to your God? Have you made his acquaintance? The primary mission and first priority of the Church is not to introduce morality to the children of Adam and Eve. Its primary mission and first priority is to introduce us to God and then get out of the way.
The measure of a Christian is not the degree to which he submits to the morality that the Church recommends. The measure of Christian is the degree of participation in the escape through the Valley of Tears. We cannot expect the children of Adam and Eve to behave like Christians until they become Christians. The children of Adam and Eve become Christians by participating in the escape - by the practice of Christianity.
Becoming a Christian is the foundation. Behaving like a Christian is the roof. The foundation needs to be built before the roof.
Behaving in accordance to a code of Christian morality is the effect of becoming a Christian - not the cause.
Morality is the crown of glory that the children of Adam and Eve wear after they become Christian.
How to Transform a Sinner into a Saint
The transformation of a sinner into a saint can be approached in two different ways.
The tyrancial approach tries to transform sinners into saints by imposition. It tries to impose a model code of behavior (a/k/a morality) upon them against their wills by fiat. Clerics who use the tyranical approach act like petty despots. They use the royal scepter of sin to whack our souls over the head until it is black, blue, battered, bruised and bleeding. The tyranical approach, however, does not work. We seldom voluntarily accept the bit of morality into our mouths, the bridle of morality onto our heads and the reins of morality into our hands by dint of fiat. The tyranical approach alienates us from God and the Church. The tyranical approach may satisfy some pathological and sadistic need in the cleric who uses this method. Clerics think that their brutal cruelty to sinners is solely for the benefit of sinners - that they are doing sinners a favor - a kindness. But they are not. Whacking sinners over the head with the royal scepter of sin only drives sinners away from the arms of God not into them.
There is an alternative way - an underutilized approach - to transform a sinner into a saint. It requires that we trust that God will do the work of transformation.
Instead of the tyrannical approach, we can utilize the prophetic approach to transforming sinners into saints. Instead of acting like kings to rule us, our clerics can act as witnesses to the truth who testify to us. We can present the truth to their rationality. We can lower the ladder of truth to sinners so they can climb out of the Valley of Tears themselves. This approach works. It is the only approach that works.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . The prophetic approach is the preferred approach of clerics who understand that befoe we can expect the children of Adam and Eve to behave like Christians, they first need to become Christians. The foundation must be built before the roof. The road to transformation is participation in the escape. There is no other road to get us from here to there.
There has been a misallocation of resources in the Church. Too many resources have been devoted to the tyranical imposition of morality upon the children of Adam and Eve. Too few resources have been devoted to testifying to the truth, both the sour truth and the sweet truth. The Church needs to reallocate its limited resources. More resources need to be devoted to "becoming a Christian" before resources need to be expended on "behaving like a Christian".
Morality is not the truth that drives us along the escape route through the Valley of Tears. Morality is the crown of glory that participants in the escape wear on their heads.
Morality is not the fuel for the engines that generate the current of salvation that, like a mighty river, sweeps us off of our feet and carries us from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise.
Is revelation different than regulation? Whether you agree or disagree with it, do you understand the distinction being made in the call for more revelation and less regulation?
A return to the truth is the solution to the decline of Christianity - a reemphasis on the truth both sweet and sour. This means a deemphasis on morality. More revelation; less regulation. No change in doctrine; just a change in emphasis - a tweak nothing more.