Get Real

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If you see Christianity in terms of perfection you are
out to obtain, I suggest you get real. Perfection
is a term that signifies a Greek abstract ideal that
sounds good but actually is impossible to attain. Idealistic
philosophy is a rainbow of appealing abstractions. One of these
is perfection. These ideals are abstract, unreal, confusing, and
tend to send people chasing rainbow religion.

Chasing unreal impossible abstractions is going silly.
They are wild goose chases. Why chase what is impossible? My
reaction to impossible CONFUSING ABSTRACTIONS OFFERING FALSE EARTHLY HOPES FOR AN IMPOSSIBLE IDEALISTIC STATE ON EARTH IS: GET REAL. We live by grace to be better, not seeking perfection.

Better we may be, perfect we cannot be. The gullible of all
ages have often accepted an unreal bill of goods about what
mankind can do. The good is brought in by good people doing
little by little, inch by inch. These are a rare few.

The people have been sold abstractions that are not achievable,
broadcast by leaders out to promise anything to gain or keep
power. If you buy into overboard idealistic belief, you will end
CYNICALLY WHEN you discover ideals are usually not valid
options but dreamy discussions. I nickname idealism of a wilder
sort the “Cinderella heresy” because the wicked step-sisters
cut off their toes and heels trying from envy to fit the glass
SLIPPER IDEAL THAT ONLY Cinderella could fit.

Idealists have tried to force impossible schemes of
government, politics, economics etc. on nations. The ideal
abstractions are not made to fit human nature. Plastic human
nature is more like “silly putty” that stretches one way one
second and then snaps back the next.

Balanced moral thinking, inch-a-long progress in peace are
more needed than idealistic ravings by those who will
promise anything to keep or get power. God does not expect us
to run up the stairs of history two flights at a time. HE EXPECTS US TO CLIMB THE STAIRS SLOWLY, BECAUSE FLESH IS NOT MADE IN THE IMAGE OF IDEALISM. IDEALISM IS A COMIC BOOK TYPE OF THINKING. Idealism can be a comic type of excess and easy self-indulgent thinking that comes from a non-religious understanding of sin or human nature. It is like “Superman” movies people love. The hero represents speedy correction without spiritual growth, inner change or
moral examination.

Idealism implies trying to achieve a frozen and
and stagnant iced stereotype of comic strip thinking.
That is not possible because mankind lives in a
flux of time that cannot stand still. To achieve
a standstill perfection is only to attain a stagnant
identity. Yet the universe is not stagnant. It is changing.

You cannot step in the same river twice, truly said the
Chinese philosophers. It is better to go slow with the flow, than
trying to force on people cold stereotypes of political
perfectionist patterns in government, creed or society that people
are not ready for and could not live in if achieved. But the
more spiritually immature the leader, the more he or she talks
of achieving dreamy idealistic states. No, these comic strip
states of the imagination are not possible soon if at all.
LOOK AT WHAT IS NOW, NOT WHAT OUGHT TO BE, THEN DO LITTLE BY LITTLE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. No miracles expected.

If drunk on idealism and unreal ideas of what might be, we
do silly and intoxicated things. But take the synthesis that is
and work to merge that into another synthesis for the better.
Step by step through grace, climb the endless mountain, never
achieving perfection in this life, but going spiritually higher
bit by bit, inch by inch, little by little, keeping the continuity
of Christ and emotional stability of the people.

I advise not thinking anyone can achieve a morally perfect
life in this life, but we can grow spiritually in an-obedience-
in-God life. If we can’t be perfect, don’t give up on
spiritual and moral effort. I advise you work for a
life significantly touched by holiness. Take time to be holy. But
something is going to snap if you try to be holier than thou.
Religion will have made you a moral snob and worse instead of
better for your efforts.

Snobs get angry at people not “moral” enough. They don’t
associate with them. They may try “forcing religion” on them.
Look, please, religion comes from inside of you. It cannot be
forced from the outside. Religion should not be forced on
others. Others might see it for themselves if it spoke to their
needs. Nothing forced from the outside rises from the inside.

Ugly people seek motes in the eyes of others, saying others
need to change, but they rarely see the evil in themselves
that may be a different evil but needs to change. Are forced
changes justified in the name of God? No, neither
emotionally forced or violently forced or propaganda forced.
That force implies no one freely responds. What a pity!

Force can make a good cause evil through guilt by association
The trouble with self-righteous indignation is that it kills
the loving touch that is necessary in Christianity. It turns
us into moral snobs forcing others. If you have not love, you are
sounding brass. (I Corinthians 13:1 RSV)

If others sin where you do not, so what? You may be a sinner
without love in your heart and moral snobbery on your mind.
One more holier than thou perfectionist sinner not ready for
Christ, but in His church, one more wolf attired in lamb’s
clothing masquerading in Christ’s fold.


Christians can be simply another branch of moral snobbers
looking down on the spiritually uncouth, dreaming
patronizingly. There must be a touch of love, a snatch of caring
and affection, a spiritual fondness, that enables us to reach
further than mere morality or duty. Christ carried the cross
out of affection, regardless of our defective morality and human
nature. Christ did not form an army as Rome did. (Had Christ
done this, He would not be with us today. The Romans have long
since gone the way of the forceful and the violent. Love is
what made Christ worthy of notice. His was a love that suffered
for others. It is a love that still suffers for us. It is a
love that reaches out to others. As others need Him, they go
to Him through grace.)

Help can be the unkindest cut in life. It means you are lacking
something. Some resentment of help is a normal reaction when
help is needed. After all, needing help even in ideas or
philosophy or religion is a confession of inadequacy. Who wishes
to be seen as inadequate? Advice is a bitter thing to have to
take. That’s why it is not usually taken even if asked for.
Only love can enable people to accept the help they may need.
But who wants help from the perfect, the patronizing, the morally
snobbish?

Jesus spoke of a perfectionist thanking God he was not as
other men. Is not the strategy of perfectionism one Luther quit
to please God? Did he not decide the just live by effort through
grace to lead lives of significant holiness? Who of real faith
and a fine attitude would want to force others? It is the example
of Jesus that teaches us goodness, but the love of Jesus that
calls us to Him. If we are going to call people to Christ,
forget violence and moral snobbery. They repel Christ.

If you are a perfectionist, stop trying to please God by being
God. You cannot achieve perfection. Rather achieve humility.                If you meet God, you will find He is too much to understand but
too enjoyable to give up. Then you may get real about God.

Those panting for perfection are not what the world needs.
It is significant steady holiness that this world needs.
We don’t need reform based on moral rage, worked up and gone
mad. Then what begins in holiness ends in debasing. We don’t
need silly people trying to apply foolish ideals. Perfectionism
is for the next stage in heaven, not for those struggling along
saddled with the imperfections of human nature.

Get real. The nature of mankind is sinful. The
urge for power in both countries and individuals is
not going away. People’s emotions get out of hand.
Many who feel do not think. Many who think do not
feel. People are born selfish and live grasping lives.
These will not go away. They must be worked with.
The best we can hope for is to soften things little by little,
inch by inch, bit by bit. Force, violence, and moral snobbery
in class churches and caste churches is not the way. Try love.
Try affection. Try Christ. They will know you if you bring
them Christ.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.