Dec 26, 2023

not the submission you're thinking of

Somewhere I heard this aphorism, I emailed to my friend recently: something like, “submission to God makes one less submissive to other people.” Yes, my friend said — it’s Christopher Lasch: “Submission to God makes people less submissive in everyday life.” And then I remembered — I had heard this very friend quoting Lasch on a podcast. Am I quoting you back to you??, I asked. Hey, he said — it’s a good line, who cares?

But this is the very paradox that’s impossible to describe to people who are suspicious of Christianity. It’s not the groveling submission before a punitive man-in-the-sky, not the self-shaming of the moral obsessive. As I emailed back to my friend:

A good line, but the riddle of the sphinx! Submission to the great Love that powers all things, that will not compel anything but will ask all of you, already holds your contingent life but asks that you become empty and seek it out — ?! It’s this that needs re-oxygenation.