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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cleansing Outings

Do you feel a need to the "cleansed" in any way? How will you go about this? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p.502).

The felt need for "cleansing" is a deep and abiding need in humanity. Much is done from this motivation. What is essentially involved in "cleansing"? Let us first look at a few examples of typical behaviors done to realize a sense "cleansing".

Just this week Kathy and I have started bicycle riding to the Bay. For me this is a chance to make a statement – when I come home in the evening from work I will no longer be a couch potato. On arriving home rather than looking at four walls, I will get out, get some exercise, feel the wind in my face, and enjoy the beauty of our neighborhood. Almost as important as the experience itself is the mental attitude involved. It is a "take charge" attitude. It is the sense that I can make a difference beginning with my own life. It's a refreshing sense of control in which I have the power to "turn over a new leaf." Most fundamentally it is also realization that I have some control over my perception. The way I see things and the experiences I have are at least partially up to me.

This sense of assertion, affirmation, and control can be found in shopping, going on vacation, getting married, moving on to another agenda item, and going to church on Sunday. Even though in church emphasis is placed on God's capacity to cleanse, nevertheless the fact that I am there listening to music and an inspirational message testifies to the fact that I have some control over the theater of perception—some control over fresh starts and reboots. "Recharging my batteries" is not simply passive but also dependent upon my actions.

In this light the Christian concepts – but certainly not only limited to Christianity – of confession, a sense of forgiveness, a sense of renewal is a giant step away from passivity and towards self-assertion. Cleansing and redemption are never minor matters in the mind of man. They encompass the everyday as well as milestones of courage and change. They celebrate fresh perspectives and that man has some measure of control in at least the essential initial steps towards this end.

But what causes us to wake up and realize the need for change? We may find it the result of fatigue, boredom, a sense of guilt, disgust with ourselves, or divine intervention through the grace of God that leads us to see the need for change. When a political candidate comes to symbolize a sea-change in perception, it is not unusual for the candidate to receive enthusiastic support almost as a transcendental savior. Of course, from experience, we know our support is surely overblown, but the deep human affinity for fresh starts, new perspectives, and new beginnings destine us to irrational commitment. Power is called the ultimate aphrodisiac. The intrinsic mental rewards received from a sense of taking charge, of taking control, has profound implications in a wide spectrum of human activities.

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