fatal narcism of spiritual perfectionism and superwhatevers

Shiver. Me. Timbrels. I am reading Velvet Evis. I had this subconscious determination not to read it because everyone was harping on and I was a bit sick of it. (weird ay) But succumbed (by the spirit?!!hehe) and have been totally stirred at every page. Sometimes when I pick up a book I get this impression that I am perfectly ripe for it: every word just penetrates. I had this with Messy Spirituality, and now, Velvet Elvis. So I join the throng of Velvet Elvis appreciators.

Last night I read the bit about shooting your superwhatever- this idea that we are all plagued by expectations of what it means to be the superpastor/ superyouthworker/ superChristian/superwhatever and its got to go.

It reminded me of a bit in Ragamuffin Gospel which utterly beset me.

The kingdom belongs to people who aren’t trying to look good or impress anybody, even themselves. They are not plotting how they can call attention to themselves, worrying about how their actions will be interpreted or wondering if they will get gold stars for their behaviour. Twenty centuries later Jesus speaks pointedly to the preening ascetic trapped in the fatal narcism of spiritual perfectionism to those of us caught up in boasting about our victories in the vineyard, to those of us fretting and flapping about our human weaknesses and character defects. The child doesn’t have to struggle to get himself in a good position for having a relationship with God; he doesn’t have to craft ingenious ways of explaining his position to Jesus he doesn’t have to create a pretty face for himself; he doesn’t have to achieve any state of spiritual feeling or intellectual understanding. All he has to do is happily accept the cookies: the gift of the kingdom.
Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning, pg 53


Gordon said...

I read Velvet Elvis before I knew it was 'the' book to read and found it really affirming. But thanks for reminding me of the Ragamuffin Gospel - I read that several years back and it was great to re-visit.

Heather's place said...

I wanted to avoid it too - I get a bit snooty about doing the same as everyone else - and such a wierd title for a 'Christian' book :-)

And I can't put it down. (Well I did 'cos I'm here now.) Like you I'm reading at at just the right time and it's making so much sense.

I want to read it quickly to get to the end and then read it again to think carfully about what he's saying.

And I want to go back and re-read all those blogs that were raving about it a few months ago.

Bet I can't find them now.

PS I had a great chat with your Mum at Roots. My lovely sister-in-law Mel (who I think you know) introduced us.