Spiritual Powerlessness

From the Department of Redundancy Department: more greatness from Richard Rohr.

We are all spiritually powerless, and not just those physically addicted to a substance. Alcoholics just have their powerlessness visible for all to see.  The rest of us disguise it in different ways, and overcompensate for our more hidden and subtle addictions and attachments, especially our addiction to our way of THINKING.

We all take our own pattern of thinking as normative, logical, and surely true, even when it does not fully compute.  We keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if it is not working for us.  That is the self-destructive, even “demonic,” nature of all addiction and of the mind in particular.  WE THINK WE ARE OUR THINKING, AND EVEN TAKE THAT THINKING AS UTTERLY “TRUE,” WHICH REMOVES US AT LEAST TWO STEPS FROM REALITY ITSELF.  We really are our own worst enemies, and salvation is primarily from ourselves.  (Breathing Under Water, xvii-xix, emphasis Rohr’s)

Is that last line a great line or what?  “We really are our own worst enemies, and salvation is primarily from ourselves.”  To have its full power, it needs the context the two paragraphs preceding provide, so it really can’t fully stand on its own.

Think about it.  What deceptive and deceived ways of thinking have captured you, your heart, your marriage, your financial future, your vote?

“I could be happy if I had a job where people respected my unique …”

“I would be secure, and I’d be able to quit worrying, IF …”

“Everything would be fine in our marriage if my wife (husband) would just …” (or “…would just stop …”)

Or the big consumer church lie, which is really a series of lies woven together:

“I know better than anyone else what I need.”

“In essential ways, church is one more business.  Moving from church to church to meet my needs is like moving my grocery buying from Kroger to Tom Thumb.”

“Church is primarily about what I get out of it.  The purpose of church is for me to feel instructed and fed.”  

“I’m not getting anything from these relationships.  I’m not getting anything from these sermons.  I’m not getting anything from this worship leader.  So I think I’ll check out the Kroger down the street.”

It’s no wonder we’re a bunch of spiritual toddlers.  We pitch a fit because we don’t want to take a nap or eat our green beans.  We have the agency to go and find another baby sitter, because this baby sitter made us unhappy.

“We really are our own worst enemies, and salvation is primarily from ourselves.”

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