The low level violence of “sinner” thinking
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. Now the author of the song evidently thought himself a wretch, and for him these words were particularly apt and appropriate. Not a problem, he was a slave-driver and certainly had his own issues. But he’s not singing this privately to his God anymore. Everyone in the church sings this as a declaration of their faith. Not faith in oneself certainly, but faith in his God, his religion, his community. A great deal of self-worth doesn’t come out of this, evidently, nor is it meant to. The theology of the day emphasized humility and sinfulness. Co-creation, power and a deep self-worth were not in the cards yet.
One of the chief problems of our world at the moment is the amazing number of people walking around with a deep sense of not being worthy. Religion only underlines the problem and only pretends to offer a solution. But the solution that most religions offer rely heavily on the patriarchal model of the world, Rely heavily on belief in the childishness of humanity, where solutions come from above, from your father or mother, from your priest , from your God.
We’ve given away our power when we do that. The responsibility we feel lessens, the load is taken off our shoulders, and we breathe a sigh of relief. Relying on the world around us to fix us, to offer the real solutions to our problems. Conversely, we then blame everyone but ourselves for our problems. Why not? I didn’t do anything wrong, it must have been somebody else.
When we accept our title of “wretch” we buy into the low self-esteem life of little responsibility, and blaming others is a natural consequence. It’s time we left our “wretchedness” behind and moved into being full- fledged adults and start taking and adult sized sense of responsibility for our lives. Then the whole ballgame will change.
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