03 January 2012


The Aramaic words both John the Baptist and Jesus (both Jews, of course) used for "repentance" meant "turn to" (or possibly "return to"), as was consistent to that used in the Jewish Bible (Old Testament), about which both John and Jesus were familiar. In the parable of the lost sheep, it is a matter of returning to the fold. The parable does not indicate the sheep should feel bad about it.

The repentance doctrine is likely from one of those pre-Christian practices of some of the "mystery cults" glommed onto the faith in medieval times. It is a difficult logic to equate repentance with love--it isn't necessary to the Christian message of love or at the core of the faith. And it is not a matter of (sometimes false) humbleness or contrition, it is more a matter of spiritual (and psychological) health--"love with all your mind and...strength."

Many preachers set up a message of dualism--usually the case for Christian sermonizing. Make it sound easy, but profound: take this path (the preacher's), not that path (the "wrong" one). Christians, many of them, must stay continually confused about which path they are on, with preachers constantly telling them they are on the wrong one. Alas, so little real spirituality offered in the messages (because so little to give). With so much emphasis on the negative of "repentance," too much spiritual capital is wasted.

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