Sour self-denial versus joyful penitence.

20h20 hours ago

Sheesh, thr religion is so stringent. Even St Paul wasn’t that much of dick over meat offered to idols.

20h20 hours ago

It’s sad and…grotesque to watch humans with no True symbols or icons try to construct some.

The picture is humorous, but I think KeepCalmAndDrawl has a point. Of course, there may be a few people who have severe chemical sensitivities – I know someone who does and she has to be very careful about chemical exposure – but overall the sign exemplifies a more-liberal-than-thou attempt at a worldly form of holiness that, as a former liberal Ann Arborite, I’m very familiar with.  I also wonder if some of this has to do with a perversion of the normal desire to be penitent, as Mrs. Laura Wood (the Thinking Housewife) noted in a recent post, Penitential Gear, Yesterday and Today.

What I’ve observed of people who are trying to create meaning out of this kind of symbolism is how much it sours their demeanor.  I’ve even experienced it firsthand; in college a friend and I went through a vegan stage until we noticed that a) many vegans were both painfully dogmatic and insufferably cranky and b) we were both becoming dogmatic and cranky.

Of course, the Bible makes it clear that God does not intend for us to be sour and cranky.  Consider how much the Bible has to say about how we should be joyful and rejoicing:

You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure. (Psalm 16:9)

The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

In fact, in doing a keyword search for joy, I found 242 verses that mention it! Just reading the verses is joy-giving, don’t you think?  God gives people joy when they are penitent toward Him, but worldly self-denial without God just leaves everyone sour.