“Does God like you?” The obvious theological answer to this would seem to be yes, but there is something that makes it hard to be emotionally and existentially internalized. So much of our religious strivings end up being either coming up with means to control God or exerting vast amounts of energy trying to please the Father who says he loves us but always expects more and is never quite happy with who we are now. If this idea is true, that God likes us we have to get over the idea that many of us have trained ourselves to say we’re unlovable. We talk about God’s love and immediately talk about how we are undeserving, thinking that somehow by observing this fact we deepen the impact of God’s love where instead we end up internalizing that we should never feel okay accepting the love we are given.
Bryan Dormaier, “Do You Like Me?”
This was the insight of Paul regarding the Law. The more we say that we should be moral and avoid immorality the more our desire for what we disavow grows. The louder the “no” the greater the temptation to transgress the “no.” The result is guilt, a guilt that is managed through repression, a repression that results in pushing our destructive actions into the unconscious to be manifested in our clandestine actions (i.e. in symptoms).
So what is the alternative to attempting to hold ethical principles? The answer is creating a space of grace in which we are invited to bring our darkness to the surface, to speak of it in an environment in which we will not be condemned or made to feel guilty, a community that will let us speak our anxieties and darkness without asking us to change. In short, a place where we can confront our humanity rather than running from it.
Peter Rollins, “Stop Teaching the Ethics of Jesus”