Culture’s Habitual World of Meritocracy

The key to entering into the Divine Exchange is never our worthiness but always God’s graciousness. Any attempt to measure or increase our worthiness will always fall short, or it will force us into the position of denial and pretend, which produces the constant perception of hypocrisy in religious people.

To switch to an “economy of grace” is a switch that is very hard for humans to make. We base almost everything in human culture on achievement, performance, accomplishment, an equal exchange value, or some kind of worthiness gauge. I call it meritocracy. Unless one personally experiences a dramatic and personal breaking of the rules of merit (forgiveness or undeserved goodness), it is almost impossible to disbelieve or operate outside of its rigid logic. This cannot happen theoretically or abstractly. It cannot happen “out there” but must be known personally “in here.”

Richard Rohr, adapted from A Lever and a Place to Stand: The Contemplative Stance, the Active Prayer (CD)

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