“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.” – Step 1 (Alcoholics Anonymous)
More commonly, many Christians whittle down the great Gospel to some moral issue over which they can feel totally triumphant and superior, and which usually asks nothing of them personally. The ego always insists on moral high ground or as Paul brilliantly puts it, “sin takes advantage of commandments to mislead me, and through obeying commandments kills me” (Romans 7:11,13). This is a really quite extraordinary piece of insight on Paul’s part, one which I would not believe myself were the disguise not so common (e.g., celibate priests focusing on birth control and abortion as the core of evil, heterosexuals seeing gay marriage as the ultimate threat to society, liberals invested in some current political correctness while living lives of rather total isolation from the suffering of the world, Bible thumpers ignoring most of the Bible when it asks them to change, a nation of immigrants being anti-immigrant, etc.). We see that the ego is still in charge, and it just wears different disguises on both the Left and the Right side of most groups and most issues.
Richard Rohr, “Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps.” page 4.
Surely it cannot be possible for the Gospel to be manipulated to be a clean cut, comfortable, and controllable morality?
Could it be, that we are all in some state of recovery? And that we need to claim or confess powerlessness…
If we are all in need of this kind of admission/confession, what does this say for relationships? It radically levels the playing field doesn’t it? Is this justice?
What would it look like for you to admit powerlessness? How would your spirituality change if you take the harsh perspective that you are in need of recovery? How would this define who and how you relate with others?
*This book has been recommended to me by a number of different people, and has been a real blessing for me. The questions I pose above, are the very same questions I posed to myself during my reading of the first chapter.