Wednesday, July 21, 2010

201 / Be Perfect

I'm quoting the Bible (Matthew 5:48, to be precise) when I say "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect."

The Quakers have a "Doctrine of Perfection," and I've always been fascinated by the admonition to "be perfect." Seems a bit beyond my abilities, so is that put in the Bible just to make us feel bad?

Traditional discussions about "perfection" as a theological category tend to focus on "faith versus works," and the various kinds of grace made available to human sinners.

My own and idiosyncratic understanding of the verse from Matthew is tied to my concept that there is "no end to life." If there isn't any specific "objective" to which we are required to commit, including any specific "self-improvement" projects, then it's easily seen that we can "be perfect," by just being "ourselves." Being "perfect" means, in the end, simply accepting ourselves as "perfect," with no further end or ambition to achieve. Former California State Senator John Vasconcellos might have called this "self-esteem."

I guess, upon reflection, that my idea of "perfection achieved" does have something to do with "grace." To be "perfect" no work is required, just acceptance and celebration. Why wait for the "perfect moment" or the "perfect" you?

"Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect."

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