12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me): Finding Grace to Live Unmasked by John Fischer on Amazon
STEP 6: "We are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character"
A few notes on the step 6 text:
John Fischer's Narnia reference is one of my favorites! Being de-dragonned hurts like more than crazy, but the relief of finally having been de-dragonned is such freedom and relief! Well, to get technical =again= Paul wasn't "formerly Saul of Tarsus," he always remained so and Acts doesn't say he was riding a horse, but (given our knowledge of the culture) we assume he was :p
Page 79: righteousness as a system rather than as an inner reality; external, not internal. Sounds familiar :0 Falling "to the ground" = humiliated, but in the best way, by God's holiness and God's grace. Baptism: being immersed in a situation of real bodily vulnerability and dependence. "Abandonment to God!" Out of my own control!
1. Why is ethical/legalistic righteousness irrelevant? Why can't we be saved on technicalities? Why is it never enough?
I think it's never enough because God assesses the attitude just as much (or even more) than the action and its results, and I truly do not believe anyone's heart ever is 100% pure.
2. Does the beginning of your story as a recovering Pharisee bear any similarity to Paul's? Were you in a sense knocked from your horse or blinded by Christ's brilliance? What factors and experiences have made you aware of your need for grace?
No, like so many of our journeys in faith, my awareness has unfolded gradually, with an occasional lightning rod conviction of a particularly bad action or attitude, which are among the factors that've made me aware of my need for grace.
3. In what ways do you feel you are being humbled as you journey along God's way? What blind spots have you discovered?
Humbled, "Grounded" – to lived right here on this earth and in this world rather than in the world (mine) that imagines I'm ok on my own by myself. For one vivid example, I got humbled really mega big-time when on my 6th serious try I finally got a formal dx for the OCD-ish entity I'd been living with since 9th grade. Since the =treatment= I got turned out to be anything but therapeutic (IOW, "Disastrous"), for some time after that every one of my former plans and then subsequent plans turned to zilch.
And just yesterday a friend (new pastor in town: we've been acquainted for only a couple of months) uncovered one of my blind spots (too sore and sensitive to say more right now, since it related to my favorite (most prideful?) area of *my* expertise – theology!). Well, it wasn't really about my theology per se but rather about my sometimes arrogant personal style . . . ouch!!!!!
4. Once we have an awareness of sin, what are our options? Why is "middle ground" impossible once we realize what re really are apart from the sacrifice of Jesus?
Well, the theology I get from the Bible tells me I'm not simply a miserable wretch but I'm also created in God's image and precious in God's sight: simul justus et peccator! I also know for a fact many, many people need to hear, believe and heed "Original Blesssing" in large doses!
5. Is there anyone in your life whom you once considered inferior but whom you have had to learn to trust in order to experience God's freedom? Is there anyone whom you still believe is beneath you in any way?
Good question? Not so much people I considered inferior but needed to learn to trust, more like people whose appearance and behaviors I wasn't crazy about but I forced myself to learn who they were.
6. Do you still have any investment in "pseudo-spiritual bank accounts" that need to be liquidated? Do you have any self-achieved assets that have not yet been tossed on the refuse pile?
Both yes and no on both parts of this question, but again I want to refer to "original blessing" as well as "total depravity!"