Where did we learn our negative self-talk?

"Negative Self-Talk" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Negative Self-Talk” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Ya, where did our negative self-talk come from?

I like this cartoon because the angels can’t figure it out. Even though, as we learn from the fallen angel Lucifer, that they possess the capacity for evil.

God looks either embarrassed or guilty… embarrassed because he’s not sure where they learned it, or guilty because he lead them to believe they were such.

The bible, a human creation, attempts to explain our capacity for evil that goes all the way back to the beginning of existence where we want what we can’t have (the forbidden fruit) and jealousy (Cain and Abel)… which are the same thing.

Barth, probably my favorite theologian, emphasized for almost his whole career God’s “No!” to humanity. Later in life though he softened and regretted not emphasizing more God’s “Yes!” to humanity.

It’s all a matter of emphasis!


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13 Responses

  1. Brigitte says:

    The problem with the dear Reformed brethren (and sisters) is that they can speak much and wax poetically about the majesty of God, the drepravity of man and the gospel, as a Topic (filling many libraries), but don’t actually give you the good news: you, yes, you, my body and blood shed for You. Take and eat and take and drink. For forgiveness. Often. I am For you. I am with you. I am in you. I have made everything right. (But repentance does precede it, as it is the sick who want the doctor. )

    This is also the problem with Islam, you don’t know how Allah will deal with you. It is not a problem with Judaism, as there are mechanisms for reconciliation. In other systems, the gods are at your beckon call and your disposal, especially if you bribe them. So you have to bring many gifts to the temple or buy the right lucky charm.

    In secularism, we may be trying to foster self-esteem, and we have now raised a generation or two on it, but it is a good question, I think to ask how much happier people really are. There is all this about appearance, looking slim and youthful, sporty and sexy, which seems to leave out a whole lot of people.

    The other day I heard this terrible word that some fat girls are just “unfuckable”. It just sums up for me the worst down-side of the meat-market culture. It is also very damning. What a horrible thing to feel rejected and unloveable when your heart is full of romance. The world’s songbooks are full of this sort of trauma. Also Fentalyn deaths are now outnumbering death by car accidents. What is it with all this taking of drugs? This is a culture that is asserting itself, feels good about itself?

    I’ll stop.

  2. Caryn LeMur says:

    Brigitte: I think that one answer is in the word ‘balance’ and the other word ‘centricism’.

    I offer that this is not a problem specifically with Reformed, Islam, Judaism, Lutheranism, independent philosophical journeys…. rather, the two words go over every philosophy.

    Let us look at you and me:

    You are fond of eating and drinking blood often, and to you, this gives you the continuous flow of forgiveness. This gives you the ‘balance’ you need in order to continue with your philosophical goals. I’ve noticed one of your goals is Controlling others (because to you, this is good and right), and this is centric to your life philosophy.

    I am much more fond of encouraging people to continue to consider how valuable they are as people, and in the eyes of God. Forgiveness (to me) is a door that we walk through once… and so, I urge ‘centricism’ around things that build a person up, investing in actions that give them ‘balance’ and peace, and doing whatever helps them to enjoy life on its terms.

    I have found that people with strong independence, self-choice, and self-esteem, walk with God in the cool of the evenings. They have no need to control others, or continuously receive forgiveness. Their ‘walk’ with God can be a short walk, or a long one…. it does not matter… because they and God are friends.

    Just like in the Garden.

  3. Brigitte says:

    The body and blood of the Lord happens to be the New Testament and mandate. I did not make this up, Caryn. As long as we live and breathe we cause offence and we make up again. Love is a continuously renewed decision. I appreciate the fact that you have a gift for encouragement. Maybe I fall short. But my callings have been as manager of household and business, of running music programs and other educational efforts. There is certainly encouragement in those activities but also plenty of management of various issues among minors, elders, staff. So y’all, some of that has to be under control, like most societies, communities, countries live by freedom but also by laws, by family hierarchies, and loving service. It all goes somehow together. And the regular communal meal is in many ways the centre of all societies, celebrating, grieving, relaxing, starting over, starting new.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Thank you, Brigitte. I forgot about the Lutheran and Catholic focus on body and blood. Of course you did not make it up… it is from the disputed John chapters, as I recall.

    But why is it so important to you personally, may I ask?

    I mean, I cannot imagine asking Bonnie (my wife) for her forgiveness every day. Oh, I could do that… but it would put such a guilt and ‘worm theology’ spin on our relationship.

    Instead, I just enjoy her company as we shop together, or drink coffee in the mornings.

    You ran programs… I should have guessed that your job was in a ‘controlling others’ role. I have served as a computer security advisor for 31 years, and so, my style of speech is also affected by my job. I suggest. I offer. I recommend. I encourage that the security policy be X or Y or Z.

    In some cases, I will recommend investigation, help with investigation, and recommend removal of the person (terminating them from the company). However, I very seldom have been in the position of firing someone.

    And when I run a team of adults, we are all professionals… and so, I lay the general approach, and perhaps the rules-of-thumb, and they are turned loose to run their sections of the investigation.

    Jobs do affect us deeply.

  5. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, this video below about sex offenders and how they are treated in the Inited States is posted in the German national news, today. English speakers should be able to make much of it out.


    It shows how they are branded for life by having it say “sexual predator” on their driver’s licences, how they live segregated some place in Florida. However, they are integrated into a local Christian church and participate in the band, etc. It made me think of you, Caryn, and how you have worked with these individuals.

  6. Brigitte says:

    Your other questions, I will write about them, here, later on tomorrow. Just so much, that confession and absolution are a wonderful thing in a relationship. You might try and and find that you access a very deep joy.

  7. Brigitte says:

    Sorry that was for Caryn from the usual Brigitte.

  8. Jordan says:

    Not at all related, David, but a neat thought – According to Jewish tradition, the reason Creation was given the Torah but not the angels was that following the Torah required free will. Angels did not have free will, so the Torah could not be given to them.
    Even if one felt depraved, pathetic, low, they still had the freedom to get out of it by any means possible. What stinks is when you’re surrounded by it to the point that it’s all you can hear – “Garbage” “Apostate” “Abomination” – you start repeating it to yourself.

  9. Brigitte says:

    Ok. I said I would write something more for Caryn.

    The business with the law/gospel dynamic is very important. We can go wrong with how we apply it to individuals and souls in a thousand ways. We can give the gospel with one hand and take it away with another. And so on. There is a famous book by an American Lutheran, Pastor Walther, which has been re-edited. It is very helpful. https://www.cph.org/p-605-the-proper-distinction-between-law-and-gospel.aspx

    In the evening lectures to pastors he covers a lot of ground about how NOT to ruin your hearers, but how to do them good. I have read the entire thing, once upon a time, and it cured me from many ills brought down to me from the inherited pietism, though some “real” Lutherans still think that Walther’s own orgininal pietism still comes through. Whatever, close enough for the moment.

    Obviously, we can’t go into all that now. But Walther’s Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel should be required for anyone who will preach and counsel.

    In Pietism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietism ) , I, personally, did not feel that I was doing well enough, as things somehow came down to my performance, again–that is giving the gospel on one hand and taking it away with another.

    At the level of the family or marriage, we deal with many of the same sorts of dynamics. We love each other. We have exceptions of each other. We hate each other. We step on feet. We forgive each other. We have an unwavering commitment to each other, we laugh, sing, cry, eat, talk with each other. Not a boring day, ever, unless we chose not to engage but withdraw.

    In this family, we need a rock-solid acceptance and love, but we also need some rules and we need some correction. It is just a matter of fact. To walk with God, or a family member, calmly in the cool of the evening, sounds to me like a withdrawing of engagement.

    In order to live an engaged life and a loving life, we have to have a renewal after offenses.

    I have met quite a few people on-line, who think that they can be quite rude on-line and have to never say sorry. This might work on-line, or in English class or Philosophy class, but where you actually live together with people, it is not right to try and live with them, or even insult them, and never, ever say sorry, out of principle. It is not going to work out out well.

    Let me conclude this post, but follow up with some formulaic stuff, like evening prayers, that deal with daily forgiveness. As Caryn, intimates, it may not be beneficial to continuously be digging around in what is all wrong. So, a liturgy, or a simple prayer is often quite enough unless there is a major issue. Major issues happen, too, and then you might need to see a pastor or a counselor… Whatever the situation requires, but not to sweep it under the carpet.

  10. Brigitte says:

    So, on the family level, or individual level, if not married, there are wonderful evening prayers. My parents certainly prayed them with us, and in them we were reminded at the close of the day, that in Jesus blood all the damage was made good again. (Jesu Blut machen allen Schaden gut.) What I did not learn then, was Luther’s suggested evening prayer, which also draws our attention to the cleaning up of the day that is just passed through the grace of God. http://catechism.cph.org/en/daily-prayers.html

    There are also numerous liturgies for morning and evening that expand on this very beautifully. There is Compline and there are Vespers. In the house, we have used this setting, at times, beginning with confession and absolution:

    In Compline, for example, is this simple formulation of confession and absolution:

    “I confess to god Almighty, before the whole company of heaven and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.”–Response: ” The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins. Amen.” And then you do it again, in reverse, the other one forgiving the other one, putting you all on the same ground of repentance and forgiveness needed and given.

    It really is a very wonderful thing. Very deep. Very joyful. Very miraculous.

    When you read C.S.Lewing “Surprised by Joy”, you find that by the end of it, he concludes that the joys in his life have been the wayposts to God. This is his conversion experience from atheism or cynicism, or whatever he was. This joy happened to him once in a while, and when he began to believe, he knew that that joy was God’s. Confession and absolution is that sort of thing. It makes you really glad, and you know that God is there.

    So much. Huge subject, obviously.

  11. Caryn LeMur says:

    Appreciate the reply, Brigitte. I was never really helped by the liturgies of written prayer. However, I haver read about the Book of Prayer(s) used by Anglicans the world over… and many positive responses to those types of written prayers.

    So, I might be the minority…. lol.

    I do love the thought of how you came to see Pietism – giving yourself the gospel, and then taking it away from yourself. I had a very similar experience years ago – I gave others forgiveness, but not myself. I am still driven to this day, but very forgiving of myself.

    I like the general confession/response reading you posted… very interesting. It sets a good tone, imo.

    I still lean towards specific confessions being best done outside of the church – because of my experience that confession within a church leads to ostracism and gossip. But I do agree that those that can confess their short-comings specifically, and find acceptance and companionship among those that have experienced similar, those people often are the ones that grow and mature, and find peace.

  12. Brigitte says:

    The liturgies can be so grounding, especially when everything is going wrong and you have no words of your own left, from worry, from grief. It happens.