the Christian life: comfort by way of upset

I’ve just posted another session of audio from our RCIA Hollywood class, which I led during our Triduum retreat:

The Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell/Purgatory

A teaser:

If someone were to ask, “What is the most comforting religion in the world?”, that would be a good question to ask in a survey… and then also to ask, “What is the most upsetting religion in the world?”, it would be interesting to know what people would say to these two questions.

I think that the most comforting religion in the world would be Christianity, without question. And as far as what would be the most upsetting religion in the world, I think it also would be Christianity. I think it’s both. It is the most upsetting, and the most comforting, because of original sin. There’s just no way back to the Garden except through the experience of death.

Our life, right now, as we live it, in all of its comfort — in its native form for us… I’m not sure we always want to leave this comfort nest, even if there’s something better, because we don’t know that something better.

Our life has really been turned upside-down by the Fall, and to turn it upside-right, think of what that entails. Just think of a boat sitting there in Paradise on the waters of creation, and then you tip it over (that’s original sin). We’ve gotten very used to being in that tipped-over boat. That’s our native home, that’s what we understand, that’s what we know: the experience of sin and of fear. And so now Christ comes, and He wants to right the boat again, but how do we receive that? We’re afraid, we’re threatened, we’re challenged by that. How dare he turn this boat over? How dare he upset our life? In fact, he’s righting the boat, but we experience it as an upset.

So the idea of Christianity is really that comfort comes by way of upset. We just don’t know it yet. When it’s all upset in our life, I think we discover the truth that finally the boat has been righted, and what we had become so familiar with was in fact just the pilgrim state of this valley of tears, and now we have discovered our true home in the Father’s house.

The entire talk is available as an audio podcast here.

3 thoughts on “the Christian life: comfort by way of upset

  1. Kind of makes sense that the most comforting would also be the most upsetting.Both comforting and upsetting are things of power, and the more power there is in it, the more comforting and the more upsetting it will be.

  2. Reminds me of that C.S. Lewis line (a tiny bit out of context here), “…like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea…” From *The Weight of Glory and other addresses, by C.S. Lewis. (The Macmillian Company, New York 1949)*.What He offers us is so “other” that I have constantly to remind myself that many things are not what they seem, just to pick up on it.

  3. Hi Margo,Actually, I quote that exact passage in the introduction to this talk. You can listen to the entire thing < HREF="http://rciahollywood.blogspot.com/2008/03/23-last-things-death-judgment-heaven.html" REL="nofollow">here<>.

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