The poet T. S. Eliot wrote of ‘hollow men’, Herbert Marcuse of ‘One Dimensional Man and Jim Taylor in Psychology today describes the artificially, manufactured identities that one can be unwise enough to embrace from the mirror of social media.
This brings to mind the fragmented self that we can become when birthed from the culture of the law and its fundamentalisms – the ‘letter of death’ as Paul perceptively named it.
Baptised into this culture we can have a self that is not a real self; a misshapen self that is the product of the knowledge of good and evil and its mirror of public acceptance, rather than The Who of our real ourselves in Christ.
A more subtle distortion of the self occurs when we are lured into gaining our self-worth from our work. True, there is satisfaction to be had in doing things well. But when we make our sense of self dependent on what others think of our work we make ourselves vulnerable to the ignorant, the unholy or the ruthless who may have ingratiated themselves into positions of leadership.
Leaders who are not leaders can find a home in religious institutions with a legalistic culture. This happens due to the need to make appointments to positions of influence of personnel who are not clever enough to see through the fabric of lies that is a law-hijacked gospel.
Francois Du Toit is right to declare the Christ of God as the one true Mirror who is the Mirror of our Father and the Mirror ow who we are as the sons and daughters of God. If we are astute enough to embrace Christ as our life and forgo Christianity as our life or our inherited legalism as our life our real self will emerge because we have been born again in the terms of an Easter Rebirth.
FORM WITH VOID
Writing of the inner lifelessness of a culture in separation from the being of God because it is enclosed in its own narcissism Torrance observes,
“structure is abstracted from substance and form is cut off from being, so that external organisation and mechanical connection are brought in to replace the inner organisation and natural patterns inherent in the universe.” (1) This is the problem of legalism and fundamentalism. The letter actually kills as Paul asserts. Even when we try to mend the legalism with a veneer of the anointing and the gifts.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 36). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.