Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Moral Heroes

I started reading a book by Scott Peck entitled "In Search Of Stones". Some of you may have read or heard about his other book "The Road Less Traveled". I casually picked this particular book up while browsing a used bookstore waiting for a friend. It seemed to offer some insights so I picked it up.

While I admire Peck's honesty in regards to his moral shortcomings and bad choices repeatedly made and some he still makes, it put me in a quandary. It's something that has bothered me ever since I can remember. It has caused me undue grief in my personal and professional life, and I am anxious to turn the corner on a peaceful yet just solution to the matter. This will take God to help and guide me and time.

OK, Angela, spit it out, what the heck are you talking about? Sin. From the fact we commit it at all, to our rational lies (rationalize) about them, to those who deny the sin or feel comfortable in always being forgiven by our ever loving Heavenly Father.

My struggle started super young and has obviously morphed. I think I was about 5 or 6 when my mother and father introduced me to the concept of sin. They told me that Jesus died for our sins and that we all sin. My first thought was wow I can't believe He had to suffer this way, gosh we suck! Then my thoughts turned to me in particular. What do you mean I Have to sin? No I Will not! Why am I being condemned before being given a chance? These thoughts should come as no surprise given my "Earliest Memory" blog entry written earlier.

Well needless to say not only have I sinned but just about broken all the 10 commandments in one form or another more times then I can possibly remember. In my tween years, I just remember focusing on the stuff that seemed to control people, namely drugs and sex. I thought it's nuts that people HAD to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and/or drink in order to function and that SEX ruled so much of people's actions.

Most of us have a choice of whether to put ourselves in tempting situations. For most of us it also involves some choice to cross the line and once crossed it is easier to cross again. And, some of us can become addicted. Sex however is natural and it's power necessary to bring men and women together for procreation and union. For me it's all about how we view it, our bodies and others.

In my tween's, I foresaw the degeneration of values and embarrassingly even hoped for it. I thought, if I can wait to sleep with a man until marriage then I will be a unique being. I'll be a woman who will be sought after because the supply will be much less then demand. Ah that pragmaticism started early! Sadly, not only was I right that about the decline in sexual mores but there is now disdain and skepticism in the value of chasteness. Yet it is in this era and in this culture that the power of God and His grace can be such a powerful witness to what we are destined for.

So why do I bring this up? Because Scott Peck's admission of infidelity was accompanied by the statement that the majority of men and more than a handful of women commit adultery. He made it somehow seem that we are destined to do these things given our natures.

Yet something allowed me to see that it just wasn't the fact that we sin that bothered me. It was that some of his views pointed to a cultural view of intimacy between a man and a woman that disregards the sacredness and respect for sexual intimacy. His focus on lust's waning and the mundane feeling that happens after many many years of marriage seemed poignant of the disconnect from what we fantasize to what the reality of marriage is. It's a good reality. The call to love someone else more than yourself, to sacrifice and even suffer at times through trials and even the mundane is what gives meaning to love. How deep can love become when it is in service to God and the other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health? How can love that deepens in this way ever be mundane?

So who better to point the way to holy love than a moral hero? I grew up with Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul whom in my mind were moral heroes. Not sinless but just loving enough and open enough to God that His grace exposed the holier side of human nature. While they were alive, we were inspired and our conscience's provoked simultaneously.

It's made me think we are capable of so much more than being a slave to sin. We are in fact capable of being Moral Heroes. May God bless us daily with examples of all virtues, and that we will desire to cultivate those virtues in ourselves. Matthew Chapter 5 verses 1-48 can guide us, and it reveals what we are capable of. It ends ironically with verse 48 below. May we all begin to experience this ecstasy one day.

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.