For if we depend on our own ideas, our own judgment and our own efforts to reproduce the life of Christ, we will only act out some kind of pious charade which will ultimately scare everybody we meet because it will be so stiff and artificial and so dead. (Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation”)
If you are joining us late, we are on a journey of discovery about our identity. Humans are in union with the divine in our innermost being but most often we live apart from that identity. It seems as if we are trying to learn who we really are. We are trying to discover who God has made us to be. Jesus came to reveal this union and our inclusion in the divine family. Still 2000 years later we are all over the place looking for something we already possess. We are struggling to obtain something we already own. We are trying to work our way to a place we already reside.
In the first post of this series I introduced three characters that I think will help us “see” this reality that is deep within all of us. I call these characters Trudy, Judy and Lena. In the last post I tried to expand a little on Trudy. I believe Trudy is the center of our innermost being. She is like a wave in the ocean where the ocean is the divine. At the core of us is God. We aren’t all of Him but like a wave we are all the substance of Him and have access to the all of Him. Trudy is our Adam or Eve from before the fall. Trudy has always been a part of our human construction. Jesus came to reveal Trudy or bring her back to life in all of us by the shocking revelation of a God who loves enough to let His creation kill Him on a cross and not raise a finger. That is a cold slap in the face to a comatose patient or defibrillator paddles used to resuscitate a dead person.
Judy is the next on the scene. Judy is a product of the good-bad fruit. She is the judgment side of us that is supposed to keep us safe but instead has been poisoned by bad fruit and lives in condemning judgment. Judy uses the evidence and the data to make a judgment. She is always looking out for number one. She knows what is good for her and what is bad for her. She is quick to share that info with Trudy and Lena. Judy is like our conscience but I don’t want to get too deep into the psychology, and I am not a psychologist, so we will keep it simple. Judy is our judgment center and most often she is like Judge Judy on the TV show.
Judy also has powerful opinions based on her data and judgment and history. Judy is why Adam and Eve hid in the garden for no good reason. Condemning Judy was flooded with data and logic with the ingestion of the forbidden fruit. She assessed the situation and even though she had no experiential evidence, she concluded circumstantially that “God is angry because we suck.” Judy is famous for infusing a situation with guilt and shame and projecting fear into the future. Most of us have a “glass is half empty” Judy that assumes the past will repeat itself in the future. Here favorite phrase is “I told you so.”
Judy also isolates Lena from Trudy. Trudy is the childlike one. She is solid and confident and full of faith. Judy however has plenty of worldly evidence to counter Trudy. Trudy tries to reason with Judy but at some point Judy wants proof. Judy sees what happens around her and thinks Trudy is too optimistic. Judy often tells Trudy her optimism is too good to be true. Over time Judy listens to Trudy less and less. If the world has been hard on Judy, then Trudy is effectively dead to Judy. Judy is stubborn and insistent on being right. Judy always wants more evidence to change a precedent.
OK, so I have painted Judy in a pretty negative light but there is hope. Jesus had a Lena and a Judy and a Trudy. The Judy of Jesus was not a judge in the penal judgmental way. Judy in Jesus was the right kind of judge…a discerner of things. Judy in Jesus wasn’t motivated by self or opinion or offense or disappointment. When Judy is healthy and not subsisting on forbidden fruit, she is a good discerner. She warns us of danger. She tells us falling off cliffs will hurt us. She remembers food that made us sick and elevates our senses when we could be in harm’s way. A well-adjusted Judy really helps us cope with a world that can be dangerous.
In the next post we will take a look at Lena.