Why is the Christian worthiness contest unwinnable?
I remember Henri Nouwen, the marvelous spiritual author, once telling me personally, “Richard, if I had to describe what we mean by original sin, I believe it is humanity’s endless capacity for self-loathing.”
We were given the absolutely most magnificent gift of therapy (if I could call it that) in the Mystery of the Incarnation. If we could really believe that objectively, metaphysically we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are the place where the Divine dwells, and that the Holy is not out there, we could save thousands of dollars in therapy and avoid years of self-doubt.
But what did we do? We made Christianity largely into what I’ve always called a worthiness contest, a moral achievement contest, at which nobody wins. All we can do is pretend. Inside of such a system, religious people are almost programmed for hypocrisy, even with the best of intentions.
Some quotes just stand on their own.