Cutting Room Floor: Fear & Maturity
Here’s what I’ll never do: I want be a fearmongerer. There’s a certain way of being Christian that really does worry that if someone has privacy, something bad will happen. They’ll inevitably sin, and do it terribly. I think that short-changes the power of God, while also ignoring the power of the church, which tests our integrity as we share life together. I honestly wonder if that position is most often taken by those who feel ashamed of what they discover about themselves in their own private moments.
The other extreme, I think, is a more excellent way of being Christian, which says that we not only need privacy, we somehow need to carry it with us wherever we go. The history of the Church is full of people who have talked about creating a hermitage, or a cell, or a room, or a place in themselves–in their hearts, or their souls or their minds–where they are met by God, and can turn to God who is always with us, no matter where they are. It’s figurative language, a way to talk about how if we nurture our private life long enough, it becomes so strong that it becomes more than resilient: it somehow intrudes into our public life as well. We have depth, and a rich interior life, and a sense of God’s presence with us that is revealed in our integrity in all the places we go, one that others recognize.
Maybe, in a society that is constantly eroding private spaces, this old Christian way of creating an interior private space matters even more.