Thursday, February 01, 2007



Many ministers are obsessed with "backsliding," because that means that you will not be in church on Sunday. You might, they fear, harm your soul, and many do really care about that. But others care so much because you will not be bringing your wallet to church. (It is common for people to give twenty to fifty dollars every time that they come.)

Backsliding is forgetting to apply the principles of wisdom and Love. One can backslide for ten minutes, or an hour. But true backsliders run their lives in "spiritual reverse" for weeks, months, or years. They generally abandon spirituality, or at least, religion, for a long time.

Everyone has backslid, at one time or another. God does not panic or freak out when we backslide. In fact, it could be argued that, as human beings, we must backslide-- at least, for moments, perhaps hours. For imperfection is the human condition.

We backslide as a learning lesson. If we do, we must study our errors, figure out why the backslide occurred, and then vow never to do that again.

Backsliding cannot possibly be the "loss of salvation." For salvation comes from only grace, and our behaviors do not affect divine grace or Love. The ministers who hate backsliding, rather than recognizing it as a natural human weakness, try to use this false idea, this lie, to scare congregants back into the church. They threaten people with a monstergod, who is going to do "Hannibal Lecter" things to people whom he doesn't like.

Of course, the truth is always the opposite: God waits, with literally infinite patience, for us to straighten out our own lives. It might take centuries, but God is utter patience, since he, and we, have forever. Backsliding can be very sad, but it is no ultimate tragedy or seismic disaster.

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