What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life … – Romans 6:1-4 (NIV)
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When I experience a point of resistance in myself as I read a story, I stop to ask: where is the REAL friction? At that point, an authentic spiritual labor may begin. Am I clinging to a value or a desire I ought to let go of, instead? In this way, scripture can open insights into my own psychological, spiritual, and social framework and prepare me for essential change.
One thing this journey has given me is an ability to embrace paradox – not contradiction, but the real nub of human existence. I have learned, too, not to confuse the cookbook for a meal or a map with the journey itself; yet anyone with either a cookbook or a chest of maps has greater opportunities for success in a given situation than does the individual advancing on his own. Again, creativity has its roots in the past and the labors of those who have gone before.
The great paradox here, of course, is that we, too, are resurrected in faith. And that means living a new life, in new ways, with new values, and with new understanding and knowledge.
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Wherefore we think it not strange concerning the fiery Trials that are to try us, as tho’ some strange Thing happened unto us, when the Wicked reproach us, and speak all manner of Evil against us falsly for Christ’s Sake. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)