Friday, April 10, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

Well, it's time for the last episode of Kay's (Perhaps We Learn) Seven Deadly Sins meme. Last but not least comes the sin of Pride.

Well it has probably become clear to anyone who has been following these posts that I can't mention the world sin without raising the specter of my poor old mother who meant so well and did so much harm. My mother was raised by crazy people who combined that craziness with extreme poverty and ignorance. She was remarkably whole considering where she came from. My mother's mother was something called a Free Methodist. This was a Pentecostal, everything-short-of-breathing-is-sin church. Laughing was a sin, dancing was a sin, movies were a sin... Everyone was going to hell but them. You might laugh now but you would cry in hell while they were serene in Heaven. I've often thought that churches like my grandmother's -I won't call it my mother's... she hated it. She sent her own children to church (a more normal church) but would not attend herself. She knew on one level how much she had been damaged by her experience... she simply didn't know how to fix it or how not to pass the damage along.

But back to pride. I grew up shame-based. Toxic shame was the air my mother breathed. If she had nursed me, it would have been in her mother's milk. If I were God, shame would be a sin and not pride. The depth of my mother's fear of pride was such that I grew up being ashamed of feeling good about myself. That was prideful and pride was a sin. How stupid is that? How wicked. All these things so many of us have been taught to worry about and be ashamed of are so petty and so distorted. The Church - or some aspects of the Church - have created a lose/lose world for many that is as wicked and ungodly as the world my grandmother's church created for my mother. In their world the God who so loved the world that he gave a son to it, so hates humanity that he wants us to be constantly judging ourselves, constantly afraid of not measuring up to absurd and basically arbitrary standards of "goodness" and virtue.

I actually think it's the height of pridefulness to think we're so important that God has nothing better to do with His/Her time than to monitor our every thought and breath in hopes of catching us in a mistake. I think it's the height of pridefulness to ascribe human pettiness to the deity. In my experience those who do this the most are also the most prone to pridefully put on a God robe and sit around judging others, to declare that god doesn't like fat people or pretty people or gay people or rich people or poor people or... people who believe something other than what they believe. I think it is the height of pridefulness to presume to know the mind of God.

So - in what I guess by my own definition is an act of pridefulness - I'm going to say that I think God ... well let me fix that... if I were God, I would want people to feel good about themselves. I'd like them to bake a cake or paint a picture and think it was great simply because they had put their heart and love into it. If I were God, I'd want me to wake up in the morning and look into the mirror and see beauty, not flaws. If I were God, I'd be looking for the good in every being and I'd want them to be doing that too.

In Christianity - the tradition I was raised in - Jesus tells us to love one another. Jesus tells us that God is Love. I believe that. I think Sin is a human invention that probably leaves the Deity shaking His/Her head in dismay.

So - hows this for hubris and pride - if I were God, here's what I'd say to anyone reading this.

I am a Loving God and you are part of my heart. I know that you will sometimes make mistakes and that you will sometimes behave badly. You are human and it's ok. I love you anyway. I do pay attention to the big stuff like wars and killing because that's one piece of my heart attacking another and it's quite painful. But there is nothing you can do or say or think that can stop me from loving you. I am God. God is LOVE. Relax. Live and be joyful. Let go of judging yourself or everyone else. Waste of energy. Waste of Love. If you want to know me, the quickest road is Love. Love yourself. Love each other. Love all of life. All this foolishness of worrying about Sin is just a distraction from your true purpose which is to Live and to BE Love.

So that's my rather prideful take on Pride.



Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Anything Else you may be Celebrating!

7 comments:

Kay said...

"I actually think it's the height of pridefulness to think we're so important that God has nothing better to do with His/Her time than to monitor our every thought and breath in hopes of catching us in a mistake. I think it's the height of pridefulness to ascribe human pettiness to the deity."

Right on!

Which is why I am a pagan.... :P

Nessa said...

I think you said this beautifully and have nothing to add. You can be proud of this post; D

quilly said...

What Nessa said.

Akelamalu said...

I've never been able to understand the religions that believe in a vengeful God, a God that wants people to suffer in his/her name. I'm with you on this Raven. :)

Thom said...

Great Post...What Quilly said :)

Mojo said...

How many times -- and how many ways -- have I said "when did we get smart enough to second guess the Creator?"

Well put Raven, very well put.

what did lola say? said...

Raven,
What a joy that our paths have crossed at this time and space, what a gifted teacher you are..sharing out of your pain and how beautiful you are because of it. You inspire me. Thank you.