Eliot Spitzer And The Apostle Paul

I’ve had theological ideas floating around in my head a lot lately.  Mostly, I’ve been reading the first few epistles of Paul.  Sometimes, I’ll read this or that blog, and come back to Romans or second Corinthians, and I’ll say to Paul, “You da man.  Sometimes I think you and me are the only ones who ‘get it'”.

Of course this isn’t true (egomania is not beyond me).  But, perhaps it’s the nature of blogs to run counter to the gospel of freedom.  After all, if we werent all sitting around wagging our fingers at one another, what would we talk about?

But, I look at Eliot Spitzer, and all I feel is pity.

Being a crusader over long periods of time has got to be exhausting.  With each new crusade, with each episode of pointing out the evil and corruption of others, the burden on oneself becomes ever greater and greater.  As the years pass, the pressure to appear “good”, in order to continue to point out others as “bad”, becomes almost more than one can bear.  The scale we use to judge others is always there in the corner, waiting to be used against us.

When goodness is defined as a list of rules that must be followed, what a toil life becomes!  Whether those are religious rules, or political principals, or any number of “ist” definitions of goodness, or a list of environmental actions, or even the Christian concepts of mercy and forgiveness – when one becomes the arbiter of “good” in these matters, he has placed a yoke around his own neck.  It is only a matter of time before the word is uttered: hypocrite.

The gospel I share with people, the one the apostle Paul speaks of, is one that sets us free from all that.  You can call me many things, but one thing you cannot call me is a hypocrite.  This is because my starting point is this:

I suck. 

I compare myself to the only perfect One, and I realise my own suckiness.  I am an egomaniac, I am not beyond being manipulative, I envy, I lie, I lust.  On my own, I’d really rather not be bothered with helping the poor.  I am prone to guttony and hoarding and drunkenness.  Like I said, I suck.

Any goodness I have in me is a gift I cannot claim as my own.

Do you have any idea how liberating this knowledge is?

And, the more I admit my own suckiness, the more something within me moves me to want to do right.  This is what we Christians call the Holy Spirit, working in me.  I cannot save the world, but Jesus can.  But first, He has to inhabit my body, like some scif-fi body snatcher.

When one realises that there isn’t a lick of difference between himself and a homeless man, when he can see his own reflection in the most wretched criminal, when he ALSO realises he is no different from the rich and powerful (their pain is no less real than anyone else’s) , he is free to love all of them as he would himself.

You can continue crusading, if you will.  But, I know from experience, that’s a burden that none of us can bear for too long.

You can be free.

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6 Responses to “Eliot Spitzer And The Apostle Paul”

  1. Volunteer Voters » There Are Rules To This Game Says:

    […] Slartibartfast uses the plight of New York City Governor Eliot Spitzer for a bit of of subtle evangelizing. Everything might have worked out so much better had the Jewish former Attorney General just set himself free from the Law and embraced the Holy Spirit: Being a crusader over long periods of time has got to be exhausting. With each new crusade, with each episode of pointing out the evil and corruption of others, the burden on oneself becomes ever greater and greater. As the years pass, the pressure to appear “good”, in order to continue to point out others as “bad”, becomes almost more than one can bear. The scale we use to judge others is always there in the corner, waiting to be used against us. […]

  2. Eric Says:

    Well said…And man, how insightful and introspective.

  3. Katherine Coble Says:

    I am not contradicting your premise, although it may sound like I am.

    I think (sorry, Mack) that all people are flawed and have a sin nature. I know that I disagree with many folks on this, and that’s fine. Ultimately, though, I think that discussions about the “beginning”–whether it be Creationism v. Evolutionism or Flawed v. Unrealised Perfection should be be left In The Beginning.

    The point of my faith has subtly become the moving past the beginning and focusing on the end point.

    The end point for Christians is to become as Christ. That, to me, means focusing on the becoming and letting the starting point be what it is. I believe I start from flawed clay. Mack believes we start from a place of perfection unrealised. Either way, I think we all have a place we have to get to. That place and the getting there is the journey and the race Paul so often writes about.

    In church on Sunday they read The Harry Potter Verse (I Cor. 15:26) and that got me to thinking again about the circular nature of things.

    The Last Enemy To Be Conquered Is Death.

    Paul says that in reference to Christ, but I believe it can be applied to us all on both spiritual and physical planes. We do not conquer death until we die and defeat its bonds through Christ. Therefore we cannot conquer our spiritual death fully until the time when through Christ we conquer that physical death as well.

    Knowing that, I think it is fine to table our frailty and the knowledge of our impending–to be conquered–death as we go on the quest for Christlikeness.

    Or anyway, that’s how I see it.

    Excuse the jumbledness, I’m just now working through the process of verbalising that which has been on my mind for a few months now.

  4. Slartibartfast Says:

    I don’t disagree at all. Being a Methodist, sanctification is one of the most important concepts in my belief system, and I’ve written quite a bit about it – mostly when speaking to those who have already found Christ.

    But, when sharing the faith with non-Christians, I think it’s extremely important to dispel the most common misconception that Christians are a bunch of finger-wagging, holier-than-thou, self-righteous hypocrites.

    Most people think that Christianity is a set of rules, and Christians the self-appointed arbiters all that is good. Shoot, many in Christendom believe that.

    My hope was to disarm those who might otherwise approach with their claws out. Usually I’m not this extreme, but I always try to illustrate with a failing of my own.

    Yet, I know my approach misses the mark somewhat. As I told ACK – CS Lewis, I ain’t. My words are the literary version of a seeker church, which of course is only useful at the beginning.

  5. sistasmiff Says:

    What Slarti said….well put.

  6. apostle paul death Says:

    […] apostle paul speaks of, … We do not conquer death until we die and defeat its bonds through …https://shootthemoose.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/eliot-spitzer-and-the-apostle-paul/Celebrating St. Paul – Argus PressSt. paul was born in Tarsus present-day Turkey and converted to […]


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