Friday, January 14, 2011

Appreciating Painful Paradoxes

I wish I knew better how to balance a call to strive for perfection (wholeness and full development) with an acknowledgment that we can't be unrealistic perfectionists - a desire to maintain the highest personal standards with a love of all no matter their own current standards - a craving for reverence with an appreciation of sociality and friendly chatter - a love of deep symbolism with a desire for plainness - a sense of community with a yearning for individual expression - an appreciation of the sacred with an openness to the secular - ad infinitum.

One of the things I love most about the Church and the Gospel is that they are so complex and expansive, but that also is one of the things that causes such difficulty and heartache for many.


Patty said...

Balance does seem to be the secret key to most things, doesn't it? For most of us it will be a lifelong quest, but one well worth seeking.

Clean Cut said...

Great observations. Paradoxes sure make life more interesting, don't they?

jen said...

A friend of mine was a Greek/Hebrew/Bible studies major. Got his doctorate degree.

Anyways, he believes the word perfect used to mean complete. As in whole. As in balanced. As in doing the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

The meaning of the word perfect has since changed to now mean "without flaws", but that wasn't the original meaning.

In that sense, I can be perfect and still be me. Most of my choices are actually perfect, because they were right for that moment.

The way he explained it to me helped a ton.

Papa D said...

jen, go to the categories at the bottom right of my blog and look at the posts that are labeled "perfection". I write a lot about exactly what you just said. The following post (which I wrote just over three years ago) is about the clash between the pure scriptural meaning of "perfect" (like in Matthew 5:48, where the footnote to "perfect" says "complete, whole, fully developed"):

"The Problem with the Popular Perception of Perfection"