(I wrote this shortly after a Bible study in a notebook, and it’s pretty chaotic. Don’t assume anything is a coherent thought.)

The gospel of authenticity can only be true if authenticity means true to our redeemed nature. It cannot mean true to the Fall.

In pop culture, authenticity means true to your present self. In Christian, to be true at all, it must mean true to our redeemed, glorified self.

But, we are not yet perfectly that self. We see it “in a mirror darkly.”

This is where Agnes Callard canhelp. Her version of aspiration is that aspiration is our present self attemptinmg to impersonate the (poorly-grasped) values of the aspired-to self. Agnes is a philosopher, so her version lacks “grace.” The aspirant is stuck pulling herself up by her own bootstraps. The Christian, however, has grace. The system isn’t closed.

In this view, “authenticity” reduces to “cooperation-with-grace.”

But, in this sense, authenticity cannot mean lack-of-pretension. God does not make use saints overnight. He may not in this life. We must be pretentious. We are (in Callard’s sense) aspirants.

Where does this leave the cult of authenticity? Muddled, but not really wrong. There is good and bad pretense. There is not only the saint, there is the pharisee, the one “even Christ could not forebear to strike.”

Callard refers to this, we must be pretentious somehow without being snobs. Maybe the answer is that our pretentions are private, and our vulgarity (orig sense) public? This makes us reverse hypocrites?

But, then we are scandalous (But the LORD was/is scandalous.) Too many sense of the same word. we should be scandalous how the was/in, but not otherwise.

Indeed, the LORD was scandalous in his vulgarity (orig sense.)

I should re-read Callard’s Aspiration. I think it helps with this door. What is akrasia for her? I don’t remember. Is it our imperfect knowledge of the future-self’s values? Or that we are not yet our future-self? Our values are a super-position of self and future-self?

Translation: we “wear Christ.” “Wear Christ” implies hyporcrisy: the outward showing of holiness, but inside, the sinnger.

Today, in our culture, what is the best, or least dangerous, way spiritually? To pose at holiness? Or to pose at vulgarity?

Our culture is obsessed with vulgary. We always were but it is worse (is it? We are elitist.) Evangelism is obsessed with vulgarity? Closer tot he truth. Is this at the heart or is it reaction to the “revolt of the elite?” (I need to actually read Lasch.)

We should not try to be the generic Saint, that way lies phariseism. The generic saint is the LDS, 50s sitcom, whitebreak wholesome hypocrit who never shocks.

Instead, we are the ‘little flowers.” We must try to be ourselves as saints. St. Thomas Aquinas is not at all St. Therese of Lisieux. Both are saints, neither is the generic saint.

This makes our task harder! We do not aspire to be saints. We aspire to be St Kevin. St. Laura. St. George. We aspire to conform ourselves to an image that exists only in the mind of God and who we see only faintly. Absent grace, this is impossible. And with the grave given, difficult. We are damanged machines, in a way, but we are not the same machines. We are specialized variations on a model.

We must discern the norms which are mere averages from the law of our nature. We must “test the spirits.” That which makes us unique that conforms to God is good, and we must be authentic to it. That which makes us unique but does not is a defect which we must cure/suppress/attempt to operate in spite of.

Sigh. The liturgy of the machine-god again. Does it’s presence invalidate the thought? I don’t think so, but it’s worrisome.

The cult of authenticity ends in Adamism. God knew the fall of man by his clothing himself. But God did not forbid clothing, but instead, in the Law, regulated it. In the garden, we were authentic. In the Fall, w must be inauthentic, but in the exact right way. Holiness is no longer natural, our soul rebels against it. We must suppress our rebellious souls with being outflanked by pride.

Saints, not pharisees. Conformed to holiness, but not to the LDS version of it. Authentic, but to God’s unique vision of us, and not to our broken visions of ourselves, with the world as our only broken yardstick.

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02 November 2021