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First of all, my friend Ashley is also writing about advent. She is amazing. Please read.

Last night I read this (Carl Jung quoted in Brennan Manning’s book Abba’s Child):

“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem an the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ– all these are undoubtedly great virtues. what I do unto the least of my brethren I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the the least among them all, the poorest of the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, the very enemy himself– that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness– that I myself am the enemy who must be loved– what then? AS a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us ‘Raca’ and condemn and rage against ourselves. we hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.”

He also quotes (I believe) Thomas Merton and says that guilt is an idol…. This disgust with self that seems (at times) so good and holy and right– I am a worm and not a (wo)man, etc…. But maybe our Christian emphasis on hatred of sin gets skewed, or skews us. The Hebrew scriptures seem passionate about holiness, but they always turn quickly to the knowledge that God will make them clean (Ps 51 was the most obvious example). And ah! Psalm 51 ends with bulls being offered on the altar. It never made much sense to me– always kind of disrupted what seemed an otherwise perfectly Calvinist piece of Biblical literature. Perhaps the Hebrews really were able to let their sin be atoned for and really could rejoice in being clean…

And a poem on the subject:

Two Lyrics From Kilroy’s Carnival: A Masque (by Delmore Schwartz– there’s a second part but I didn’t include it)

I Aria

“–Kiss me there where pride is glittering
Kiss me where I am ripened and round fruit
Kiss me wherever, however, I am supple, bare and flare
(Let the bell be rung as long as I am young:
let ring and fly like a great bronze wing!)

“–I’ll kiss you wherever you think you are poor,
Wherever you shudder, feeling striped or barred,
Because you think you are bloodless, skinny or marred:
Until, until
your gaze has been stilled–
Until you are shamed again no more!
I’ll kiss you until your body and soul
the mind in the body being fulfilled–
Suspend their dread and civil war!”

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