Sunday, May 20, 2012

Actors' Sacrifices; Two Views on Forgiveness

I have two thoughts for today:

1.  Yesterday, I watched an excellent documentary called The Captains, in which William Shatner of Star Trek fame interviewed other actors who played captains on a Star Trek show or movie (Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine), as well as shared his own reflections about Star Trek.

What particularly stood out to me in the documentary were comments by Scott Bakula and Kate Mulgrew, both of whom I love as actors.  Scott Bakula was saying that working on Quantum Leap essentially cost him his marriage, since he was working 12-hour days (at least), with rarely a day off.  Because he was a fairly new actor and thus did not have the leverage to negotiate his hours, he showed up when he was needed.  Kate Mulgrew of Star Trek: Voyager said that she was a single mother during the Voyager days, and she did not get to see her kids that much on account of her long workdays.  To this day, she said, her kids are not interested in the show—-they do not want to watch it—-for they resent how it took their mother away from them.  I can’t imagine not wanting to watch Star Trek: Voyager, but, of course, I enjoy it from a distance, without being exposed to all that it took to make it, or how that affected other people.

2.  Rachel Held Evans has a post, Ask a Seventh-Day Adventist.  As I discuss the issues of forgiveness and salvation in the comments section with Delina Pryce McPhaull and Nicholas, I am seeing more clearly the type of Christianity that I had growing up, and how that contrasts with the sort of Christianity that I encountered among evangelicals.

The type of Christianity that I had growing up (in Armstrongism) went like this: I accept Christ as my personal savior and my past sins are forgiven.  But I need to continue to ask God for forgiveness to keep my slate clean, and God forgives me continually on the basis of what Christ did on the cross.  But asking God for forgiveness is not enough for me to be forgiven on a continual basis, for I also need to repent (i.e., try not to do the sin anymore) and forgive others.

The sort of Christianity that I encountered among evangelicals went like this: I accept Christ as my personal savior and God then regards me as righteous and as a child of God, even though I still have imperfections.  I confess my sins to God, ask God for forgiveness, repent, and forgive others, not to keep my slate clean, for it’s already clean in God’s sight after I accept Christ.  Rather, I do these things to enrich my relationship with God and perhaps even to make myself feel better.

These are my impressions.  I can’t be absolute here, for I think that there were some elements of the second view in my religious upbringing.  But there was enough of the first view swimming around in my mind that, when I was in an evangelical small group and heard the leader say that one did not have to repent of every sin to be saved, I was shocked.

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