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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Of Blasphemy, Irreverance, Piety and Parts of Our Self
Do we hold nature's beauty sacred?
What do these concepts really mean and who can use the words?
Blasphemy is: the offensive act of speaking sacrilegiously about someone’s God or sacred things; cussing.
That is my definition but you can find one just about like it online. I keep in the “or sacred things” and I leave in the “cussing”. Both of which are ill placed and without basis. Sacred things? Some religious groups put some things above the normal and say they have a special significance to God and therefore us.
Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour is not a tour you go on but rather one that comes to a place near you. It is a “precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters.” It would be blasphemy to make fun of such a thing. Personally I am not buying into that. Buddhists may disagree. As they may disagree with me suggesting that a shroud is a sacred relic that one must be reverent to or commit blasphemy. Although I would not say that personally.
Now do not get me wrong here these “things” are cool. They perhaps are relics that had direct contact or were a part of the mystique surrounding ancient wonderful people, places or circumstances or God. And most assuredly for many people just getting close to these “things” creates a “religious” experience including what we may call miracles. And what of the concept of making fun of someone’s Holy Scripture? Certainly that would be blasphemy by the definition above.
Blasphemy can be considered a sin such as one that is unforgiveable. But that is a sin directly aimed at God. Not a relic or thing.
Mark 3:29 New Living Translation; “but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences."
Irreverence is just a baby blasphemy to most people. Again we find a notion that we cannot speak badly of anyone’s belief system.
So in this sense Piety is simply holding all sacred things with reverence and without blasphemy.
Hey it is the week of Thanksgiving I can bust out all Christmasy.
Decide for your self
While we suggest that you hold your tongue rather than be insulting we do not suggest raising these matters to a sense of spiritual criminality. Around here irreverence is taken as a questioning of man. That which we must “bow down to” is open for question – constantly. Here is how that system works: If we question all things then those things that survived questioning are worthy of adoration, contemplation and faith. If a matter stated is not consistent with other matters already accepted then it remains questionable.
Let us take the matter of Saints. A wonderful concept with both Saints and saints. If you are Christian you have no problem with souls living on after death. So a soul could be out there from an exemplary person who walked the earth. We could call that person a Saint and revere there name and soul. A fun note on this is about Vietnamese. They as a group through tradition practice ancestor worship. To them praying “to” & “through” a Saint is as natural as can be. My wife being Vietnamese finds the notion of the Saints being the go between very comforting. I was raised without Saints in the traditional Catholic sense. In accepting a Saint as an “intermediary” I fall very short of the mark. I strongly believe that nothing can separate one from the Lord. Advocate or counselor should not be considered in approaching/praying to the Lord. So I get the whole Saint deal, but I cannot accept them as an intermediary or that we should at all be praying to them. Include Saints and ancestors in prayers but do not pray to them as “helpers”.
So if I were to criticize a Saint would it be blasphemy? No I cannot answer that question for you. I hope you can answer that for yourself.
Now onto the scripture that says blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a sin that lasts for eternity. I fully believe that concept. No not like you may be thinking. Not like it separates you from God for eternity but that that transgression stays with you and you cannot even forgive yourself for it. If I were to have regrets it would be because I blasphemed the Holy Spirit. So you and I are both saying to ourselves what exactly does that mean? Saying something is sacrilegious and that defines blasphemy is almost no help at all. But let me give you one example; ut quid dereliquisti me genuit Pater which means roughly Father, Father why have you forsaken me. Now would that be blasphemy? If you go all strict on me it would be blasphemy to suggest that our Lord forsakes us – especially the fellow who said this famously.
So make up your own mind what is sacred and what is blasphemy. And then keep it to yourself. This is not something we should go around judging for others. Do not get false piety or vainglorious on others.
Now this was a short sermon so we add a fun part to think about in your day to day self-improvement mode. Don’t worry I will tie them up in a nice bow.
Just a tower in the desert
Just relax about all this stuff.
Getting Rid of Parts of Ourselves
Have you ever just wanted to get rid of a part of yourself? Seems nowadays the new age gurus love to talk about getting rid of your ego. We get it but it is kind of like cutting off you hand because it steals. Probably better to control your hand. But hey maybe that is just me. I have an ego and it is part of who I am. Should I really be dismembering part of who I am? Sure the ego gets in the way but so does my big old belly. We probably could talk about getting rid of some of my belly through surgery. But just the fat ugly part that I love so much. Nope I would not get rid of my belly but trimming it up some would not hurt a bit. Personally I prefer the gym and hiking but I am not obese, merely have a gut on me.
If my ego was obese then maybe I would cut some of it off, but not all of it. I would keep the “abs” of my ego just get rid of the fat. See where we are going with this? How about anger. Wouldn’t be nice to get rid of it all together. Well no it would not. Have you ever heard of “anger obliteration”? No it is called “anger management” for a reason. We do not get rid of it we just learn how to channel it for positive rather than negative outcomes. If the ego is simply our sense of self-importance it would be wise to stay important but not vain. In viewing ourselves as one part of a whole we can still think we are an important part. If you consider obliterating your ego because you are not important – well then how can someone else be important. See the logic flaw there.
When I am single I have a real problem with falling in love. I do it regularly with abandon. Not healthy at all and sometimes disastrous. I never set out to get rid of love, but rather to temper it with good common sense.
Do we really want to get rid of our character traits or just the defects within them?
And what are we to make of ourselves?
So we take our mind, body and soul and we sculpt it and treasure all three. If we have no self-respect then how can we respect another? There is a common thread that runs through folks who have self-destructive addiction problems. They simply do not love themselves. For recovery the good “guidance” counselor will concentrate on building up a healthy self-love. It is a dichotomy of sorts, you have to tear down the ego to get rid of self-will and yet build it up to obtain healthy self-respect. But the point is that we engage, if we are healthy, in “Ego Management” not ego obliteration.
Getting rid of wrinkles. For most of us wrinkles are something that develop after years of living. When we say someone is “obsessing” over their wrinkles everybody knows that we mean that they would like to get rid of them. Nope, never seen someone obsess over their wrinkles who was glad to have them.
Please think twice about getting rid of anything about yourself. I suggest it would be better to correct and refine and improve on things, not get rid of them.
Now the tie for the two sermons in one: Wouldn’t getting rid of a part of that which is you be blasphemy? Seems we should hold all people and their souls sacrosanct. Seems to me we are made worthy of holding ourselves in reverence. And we should be just pius enough to judge ourselves worthy just the way we are.