Just Enough of God to Be Miserable

I am still digesting Robert Farrar Capon’s Kingdom, Grace and Judgment. It is an interesting look at the parables of Jesus from an Episcopal priest and comes to some incredible conclusions that you wouldn’t expect. I’ll warn you it isn’t always easy reading, but the gems throughout are incredible. Here’s another:

“I am left, therefore, with the unhappy suspicion that people who are afraid the preaching of grace will encourage sin are in fact people who resent the righteousness they have forced themselves into. Having led ‘good’ lies—and worse yet, having denied themselves the pleasures of sin—they seethe inwardly at any suggestion that God may not be as hard on drug pushes and child molesters as they always thought he would be on themselves.”


He reminds me of something my father used to say when we were growing up. “Some people get just enough of God to be miserable.” They can no longer give themselves freely to the sin that entangled them, but neither do they come close enough to drink deeply from the well of life that he offers. Perhaps that is what it means to be lukewarm and why Jesus found it so distasteful. Neither sinner enough to recognize their need for him, nor godly enough to find his fullness the greatest joy in the universe.

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10 Comments
  1. Dominic May 23, 2005 at 9:52 am

    You know with what you said here Wayne i’d like to say something.Whenever the the Life of Christ is taught/or even just christian teaching is heard in general it seems that while the teacher is teaching or describing how to live the christisan life they always seem to be saying or describing a "life" that we can DO.Even when most of what they say or teach or describe is that of grace,at some point they inevitably give unkowingly[or knowingly] the mesage that WE can do it….I know this first hand.Iv’e been a christian for 18 yrs and have noticed that with my own life experience.Every time i would go free something turns me back to MY RESPONSIBLITY,MY WORK,MY TRUST….etc….Instead of just saying Jesus will cause you to trust Him and seek not emptiness as you get to know His love…and if you dont experience this inevitably you will be led to through the ups and downs of life and your inner hunger…furthermore…God doesnt neeed to treat you like Job,or send calamity onto you in order for you to "trust"Him and not in broken lifeless things but that yuou will be led on your own to trust Him through your inner hunger….God os Love not the great flesh driver fear monger our words unkowngly make Him out to be…Dom

  2. Dominic May 23, 2005 at 11:20 am

    It also seems as though MUCH of "trusting" the Father seems to be taught as some sort of power we have in our flesh in order to do so.

    When we hear how bad we are for not seeking "Life in Him" and how alwful we are for seeking "things" and not God it only serves to push us further and further away from the very One we want so much.

    To me it would make no sense other then to say TRUST is the FRUIT of God not the fruit of mans flesh.Otherwise we can and should take some credit for the christian life.

    Put it this way: we will always be judging how much,how little or how often we do enough to be "left alone" by God.Our lives will always be in jeopardy of Gods displeasure and maybe even orhcestration to make it fall apart if we subscribe to the thought that we generate and are the responsible ones to work up some trust in God.

    We end up being nervous and feeling guilty about every pleasure we have in life!!!!!!!!!

    You know the funny thing about it…is most of the people teaching this actually are pastors, teachers and the like..and have no real problem due to there occupation more than anything else with living a life they think is farily in "balance"and ok to God….so for them its perfectly nonthreatening to teach about "trusting" God.They might feel as though God is grading them on a curve.Meanwhile most christians out there are rocked in pain by what they teach and are afraid to have more than 2 beers or to go on a date or whatever is a part of life here on this planet for fear of being a person "seeking life in things and not God"!!!What a head trip…ok im done venting…

  3. Dominic May 23, 2005 at 12:52 pm

    You know with what you said here Wayne i’d like to say something.Whenever the the Life of Christ is taught/or even just christian teaching is heard in general it seems that while the teacher is teaching or describing how to live the christisan life they always seem to be saying or describing a "life" that we can DO.Even when most of what they say or teach or describe is that of grace,at some point they inevitably give unkowingly[or knowingly] the mesage that WE can do it….I know this first hand.Iv’e been a christian for 18 yrs and have noticed that with my own life experience.Every time i would go free something turns me back to MY RESPONSIBLITY,MY WORK,MY TRUST….etc….Instead of just saying Jesus will cause you to trust Him and seek not emptiness as you get to know His love…and if you dont experience this inevitably you will be led to through the ups and downs of life and your inner hunger…furthermore…God doesnt neeed to treat you like Job,or send calamity onto you in order for you to "trust"Him and not in broken lifeless things but that yuou will be led on your own to trust Him through your inner hunger….God os Love not the great flesh driver fear monger our words unkowngly make Him out to be…Dom

  4. Dominic May 23, 2005 at 2:20 pm

    It also seems as though MUCH of "trusting" the Father seems to be taught as some sort of power we have in our flesh in order to do so.

    When we hear how bad we are for not seeking "Life in Him" and how alwful we are for seeking "things" and not God it only serves to push us further and further away from the very One we want so much.

    To me it would make no sense other then to say TRUST is the FRUIT of God not the fruit of mans flesh.Otherwise we can and should take some credit for the christian life.

    Put it this way: we will always be judging how much,how little or how often we do enough to be "left alone" by God.Our lives will always be in jeopardy of Gods displeasure and maybe even orhcestration to make it fall apart if we subscribe to the thought that we generate and are the responsible ones to work up some trust in God.

    We end up being nervous and feeling guilty about every pleasure we have in life!!!!!!!!!

    You know the funny thing about it…is most of the people teaching this actually are pastors, teachers and the like..and have no real problem due to there occupation more than anything else with living a life they think is farily in "balance"and ok to God….so for them its perfectly nonthreatening to teach about "trusting" God.They might feel as though God is grading them on a curve.Meanwhile most christians out there are rocked in pain by what they teach and are afraid to have more than 2 beers or to go on a date or whatever is a part of life here on this planet for fear of being a person "seeking life in things and not God"!!!What a head trip…ok im done venting…

  5. Allen May 23, 2005 at 4:54 pm

    I’m guessing here, but was the parable he was talking about the one about the various groups of workers hired at different times of the day but all paid the same at the end of the day? That is one of my favorite parables. It is so descriptive of how we want to compare ourselves to others and resist grace when it means that someone else gets it. But notice, the last ones hired had no problem with this "unfair" payment. So do we claim grace for ourselves when we are the last hired but gripe when grace benefits others we see as worse than us.

  6. DOM May 23, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    I see what you mean.I find that no matter what the life we are encouraged to live has very narrow expectations of us and is truly nonrealistic in this life anyway.Unless of course we want to suffer for strictly being "moral".Now if we suffered for loves sake hey,thats assuming we have power to suffer…..and thats logical,fair and the like…but geez if we are asked to suffer and restrain from having any fun meanwhile they who would impose those standards get to do the very things they dont allow us to engage in…i gotta a problem with that!

    Its called hypocrisiy.I ts a norrow stupid view ….they cannot see that they too are doing things that arent "life giving" just like they expect the congragation to live up to—they just arent taking it into account….

  7. Allen May 23, 2005 at 7:54 pm

    I’m guessing here, but was the parable he was talking about the one about the various groups of workers hired at different times of the day but all paid the same at the end of the day? That is one of my favorite parables. It is so descriptive of how we want to compare ourselves to others and resist grace when it means that someone else gets it. But notice, the last ones hired had no problem with this "unfair" payment. So do we claim grace for ourselves when we are the last hired but gripe when grace benefits others we see as worse than us.

  8. DOM May 23, 2005 at 8:12 pm

    I see what you mean.I find that no matter what the life we are encouraged to live has very narrow expectations of us and is truly nonrealistic in this life anyway.Unless of course we want to suffer for strictly being "moral".Now if we suffered for loves sake hey,thats assuming we have power to suffer…..and thats logical,fair and the like…but geez if we are asked to suffer and restrain from having any fun meanwhile they who would impose those standards get to do the very things they dont allow us to engage in…i gotta a problem with that!

    Its called hypocrisiy.I ts a norrow stupid view ….they cannot see that they too are doing things that arent "life giving" just like they expect the congragation to live up to—they just arent taking it into account….

  9. J May 26, 2005 at 9:25 am

    Allen, I like the way you put it. Good question for us all to consider.

    –J

  10. J May 26, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    Allen, I like the way you put it. Good question for us all to consider.

    –J

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