Camels

What is the first thing you think about if I use the word carnal? What about the word flesh?

Don’t know about you but I think about sins of the flesh….sex.

I am thinking about this terminology because of an article in the Sydney Morning Herald….”Women wear the brunt of our primitive response to fear” I am thinking that my understanding of flesh and our carnal nature is a bit skewed. The word primitive stood out for me, perhaps I could instead use the word carnal or the word flesh. “Women wear the brunt of our carnal response to fear” I think if I did this I would be getting closer to what the Bible means by carnal – it is natural, totally human. Renee Giraard in his scapegoat theory makes the observation that these responses are often totally irrational – they ocurr without our reasoning, and they are strongly denied. We do not believe that we are doing them.

For example a racist or a homophobe will not acknowledge their fear or their wrong doing – similarly an Islamaphobe will deny a problem and see themselves as right ( a person pointing out their irrational fear is seen as naive or complacent).

Lets not get hung up on these issues, I am just using them as an example – many others exist – these are just in the forefront at the moment.

It seems that when responses happen from a subconscious level – we bypass rational thought and even deny this is happening. This thought follows my previous posts about being “Born Again”. I believe that this event involves more than Western Christianity and culture will allow. The Gospel is now almost exclusively restricted to the “Penal Substitution” model of atonement. Jesus came as a sacrifice for our sins – paid the penalty. This is indeed biblical, however it wasn’t until a thousand years into the history of our Church that this model came to the forefront. This thought has blown my mind and I have been trying to get my head around other ways of thinking – other models, other analogies that the Bible offers. I have mentioned it before, and I do so again – another theme in the Bible is deception…or slavery to the Devil. The Devil is a little like the word carnal….easily misunderstood. While we sit around looking for a being that epitomizes evil, possibly with horns and pitchfork we miss the point and we miss “his” work. Whoever or whatever the Devil is (I believe he is a personification of powers that control us)…..Can you see what I am saying?

We are trapped in the patterns of carnal thinking – slaves to our subconscious motivators.

The Gospel speaks to this predicament – the Kingdom of God was the main thrust of Jesus teaching…we don’t have the same thrust.

Without making this Post too long and babbling on towards boredom….I am thinking about camels. Our carnal nature begins as a camel – as we grow we take on luggage – some of it good and some of it not so good. Our sense of self is found in all the luggage – Jesus was the exception, he was just a camel, no luggage. His identity was found and founded in God. When it comes to entering the narrow gate we are faced with an awful predicament – we find that our sense of self is stopping us from going through the gate. Only the naked camel can enter. How hard is it for the camel to enter through the gate?

The gate isn’t a gate into a heaven sometime in the future – God’s Kingdom is in the here and now – somewhere where we are meant to go. Ironically Christianity is among the luggage that needs to be discarded – and that is why it is so hard.

 

 

 

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