October 2nd, 2006

HTOC

Persons

A person is not his sin.  Sin destroys personhood, makes it less real and divides it.  Sin is anti-personal because it is individual.  Personhood is found in community, as unique beings are shaped through communion with other unique beings.  Personhood is related to the imago dei, the God who is persons in communion.  Individualism, a separation from the community in an act of self-assertion, is a tragic revolt, an aborted personhood, a willful separation from a community whose hope is divinity.  Persons are unique in their giving to others and receiving from others.  Individuals attempt this uniqueness by their self-promotion, by their competition and by taking.

The devil is a profound individual.  In fact, the devil may be the only absolute individual that exists.  The sole "community" that the devil can inspire is one of isolated individuals, united only in the similar appearance of their selfish actions - a communion of separateness.  The devil "unites" in a greed that destroys community; a lust that degenerates persons; and a relativism that denies the Truth that would lead to actual community.  

At a glance, this facade looks like community, it sound and feels something like community.  It is the dark "angel of light" dispersed among societies and political parties and idealisms in general.  But no community can be valid whose foundation is self-promotion spurred on by the itching fear of spiritual and physical demise.

One could almost be forgiven for mistaking the clamoring camp of individuals for actual community - "Look at our progress!  Look at our science!  Look at our laws!  Look at our religion!" - but this false-image is quickly erased by the cross.  The cross is repugnant to pseudo-community because its message leaves no room for individualism: die to live; give all you have and expect nothing in return.  It is this simple message that destroys every false union and false intimacy.  It is the cross that tears down what was and glorifies what was not.

A "religious community" demanded God's death and a "political community" executed Him.  But His resurrection produced a community of persons marked by the cross, knowing that it was the cross alone that would make persons out of them and save them from their own individual plummet into the very lonely place we call hell.