Thursday, September 01, 2005

Not Curvatus in Se Enough

The traditional Lutheran diagnosis of the human condition is that we are "curvatus in se" -- turned in on ourselves. I've always thought this was a very good description, but it occurred to me today that in a peculiar way some Christians are not curvatus in se enough. Specifically, their ability to detect sin seems to utterly lack this curvature.

I saw on LutheranChik's blog today a link to a group of "Christians" who are blaming the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the sin of the victims. The director of the organization quoted himself (I'm guessing) as saying, "Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city." I'm speechless. Well, almost -- really I just don't want to make public statements of the nature this provokes me to.

The group's website claims that they desire "to adhere entirely to the teachings of the Bible." I must have missed that part in the Bible that teaches us to say, "See, I told you God didn't like you" to people who have just experienced devastating loss. Aside from what bad theology it involves, this is just such an unimaginable lack of compassion that it must be literally painful. It's definitely painful to read, but I mean it must be painful to the person who wrote this filth. How can he not see it?

But this is just one example of a big, ugly wart on the public face of Christianity. I'm not going to accuse individual Christians, conservative or otherwise, of being generally guilty of this sort of thing -- to do so would be a denial of the Holy Spirit -- but somehow this self-righteousness manages to bubble to the surface. And everyone, Christian or otherwise, sees it and says, "Eeewwwww!"

Is it possible to be so curvatus in se that you can't see yourself?

6 comments:

Emily said...

Well, I think it is still "curvatus in se" because whenever you criticize someone in the manner of which we are discussing, you are implying that of course you wouldn't do any such thing and are therefore not deserving of such judgment.

Andy said...

Yes, this is definitely no threat to the traditional Lutheran diagnosis. There are just some times when we should think about ourselves.

*Christopher said...

M,

From here it actually seems that such folks are so turned in upon themselves that they cannot see anyone else's struggles and sufferings, that their own interpretation of Scripture and their theology might be gravely fallen. It certainly doesn't point to Christ...

Eric Lemonholm said...

As Christians, we need to be able to look into the mirror enough to deal with the log in our eyes, before we try to remove the speck from our neighbor's eye. We need to be self-reflective, but not self-absorbed. If I am totally curvatus in se, then I cannot see myself as I really am, as God sees me. It is God who straightens me out, and helps me see the sinner I am.

The 'act of God' (wow is that presumptuous) that destroyed New Orleans, of course, mostly killed the poor, whose collective sin, it seems, was not owning a car to escape in. To judge the poor, the elderly, mothers and children (who are often the most common victims of natural disasters) as deserving their fate, while the godless rich escape, is unbiblical and unchristian.

*Christopher said...

Even more important from a Lutheran perspective WE ARE ALL SINNERS (alienated from G-d), all restored to relationship with G-d by G-d's gracious initiative. Our judgments of others "sins" are fallen, so judge very carefully. If this is G-d's way of punishing the "filth" none of us would escape notice. Of course, the G-d I know in Jesus Christ returned our rejection of G-d in the Crucifixion with forgiveness...that's the place to start...

James Joseph said...

Johnny come lately here... (like almost 7-years later)


'Curvatus in se' is from the holy Church Father, Archbishop Augustine of Hippo.


'Curvatus in se' is partly a masturbation reference. It blinds you by causing you to turn inward.