Sunday, December 18, 2005

For the record

A reader told me he was dismayed about the first line in my Blogger Profile:

I am an oxymoron - a committed Christian - and a scattered muttering Catholic writer in the making."

He said it was unbearably arrogant to say such a thing about myself. I, and others readers, are not of the same mind. Hence {{TONGUE IN CHEEK ALERT!!}}, stooping from my lofty throne, I shall deign to explain that line is based on the rather unpleasant premise that a committed Christian is, like it or not, by and large, an oxymoron.

On the one hand, by saying I am a 'committed' Christian, I am saying I openly and seriously 'wear my faith on my life'. On the other hand, virtually any honest Christian would have to admit even his 'committed' relationship to God is rife with infidelity, hypocrisy, acedia, etc. So, perhaps betraying my old Lutheran leanings, in that first line I am simply trying to make the best of a tough situation as simul iustus et peccator ('at once righteous and a sinner'). The oxymoron is not that I stand out head and shoulders above 'all those other so-called Christians', but rather that I (proudly?) take my ranks among the oxymoronically redeemed -- God's beloved unlovelies, His holy unholies, His saved lost causes -- all by the work of an infant King and a crucified Victor.

This oxymoron, and my place in it, became clear to me one day during my last year at college. I was talking with a friend, a fellow 'committed Christian', and he brought up his mom. 'Is she a Christian -- committed, I mean?'

Without a pause, and without any guile, he answered, 'Is anyone?'

I'm still left stinging awake by that.

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