Monday, October 3, 2011

Kierkegaard on the difference between talking and acting...

As a Christian, this continues to be a very challenging word for me to hear... since I am still too often in the camp of those who ridicule. From Kierkegaard's Journals:

"Take the rich young man — let me then preach about his not being perfect, that he could not bring himself to giving everything to the poor, but that the true Christian is always willing to give everything. Let me preach this way, and people are deeply moved and I am esteemed. But if I were a rich young man and went and gave all my possessions to the poor — then people would be scandalized. They would find it a ridiculous exaggeration.

Take Mary Magdalene. Let me preach about her deep consciousness of sin, the passion which becomes indifferent to everything but her sin, which goes out to the Savior, opening herself up to all kinds of ridicule, etc. I... will be regarded as an earnest Christian, I will be esteemed. If, however, I myself, conscious of being a sinner, if suddenly I actually step forward with a public confession of sin, offense arises immediately, people will consider it vanity and ridiculous exaggeration.

To preach that the true Christian consults God in everything is moving... if in actuality a man does step forward and refers to his having consulted God, this is censured as presumption, pride, exaggeration, madness. Picture those quiet spirits who, remote from life, filled their souls with only the thought of God — it will move to tears... But let someone really do it and he becomes an object of ridicule."

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