Thursday, July 1, 2010

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you think we should seek to overcome a fear of self-deception, and if so, how, and if not, why not?


Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today


Rhett & Valerie said...


"Fear", I think, can have two senses. First, it can refer to the "reverence" or "awe" that one might have for another person or thing, as in "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." It seems that this type of fear is not only necessary, but foundational for growth and transformation as a Christian. However, the term can also denote servility, or anxiety over the possibility of punishment by one who holds power over you. Fear, in this sense, can be paralyzing and should sought to be overcome. In 1 John, the author addresses this second type of fear (concerning God's wrath), which apparently was seizing at least some of his readers. On this matter, he tells them to become mature in love (4.17-18). This love then drives out the illusory fear of God's upcoming punishment.
Concerning self-deception, this text is appropriate. Growing in the knowledge of God's love produces confidence, not only concerning our eternal state, but in our daily lives as human beings living in God's world. As in any relationship, fear (i.e. of rejection, or saying the wrong thing, or having the wrong belief) decreases as the relationship strengthens and matures.

The fear of self-deception, if it is allowed to remain, can (ironically) produce self-deception. However, by looking beyond ourselves, we can take the first steps towards truth.


Greg said...

Thanks. Excellent thoughts. Fear of self-deception, using fear in your second sense, leave us in the cycle of the same. No wonder change then is difficult to come by. Every time a trust or belief arises that might challenge the status quo, it is quickly neutralized by the defeater.

Being significantly invested and highly committed to the fear of self-deception, means recycling reigns.

Rhett & Valerie said...

Hey Greg,

I was trying to think of ways we can overcome fear of self-deception and self-deception itself.

One way I think we can go about dismantling this fear is to place ourselves in a safe community where we can initially share our fears in order to overcome them. If our community is trustworthy--and finding out whether it is or isn't may involve some heartbreak--our fears can be listened to and hushed by those who know us. (I'm thinking of Bonhoeffer's "Who am I?" poem, and another poem called "Friendship" by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik). By trusting others we hopefully learn to trust ourselves, and to become trustworthy.


Rhett & Valerie said...

At the risk of cluttering up your page, here's the Craik poem (often attributed to George Eliot, but I think it's hers instead):

Oh, the comfort—
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

This poem makes me think of L'Abri

Greg said...

Thanks. Good points. Safe community is a key to opening up and to beginning to defeat the cycles of the same that paralyze us. I think trustworthy community will also help us identify unidentifiable commitments, such as fear or guilt, that sometimes have such power and control without us being aware of them. Fear of self-deception can operate this way until someone or something points it out, thereby enabling us to assess its validity. There is no way we can do this on our own.

I love the poem. Many thanks for including it and for your kind comment that it reminds you of L'Abri.