Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blame Transference Syndrome

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

-- Genesis 3:8-13

Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent.
My college religion professor -- the late, great Princeton-educated pastor, Dr. M.B. Jackson -- called this phenomenon Blame Transference Syndrome. Dr. Jackson said that not only have we inherited a bondage to sin from our first parents, we also inherited misplacing the blame from them. The syndrome which prompts us to fault everyone but ourselves for our sin gets passed on in the cancer of original sin.

We see this everywhere today. On talk shows and in tell-alls, in pop psychology and in politics. Our therapeutic culture has us blaming parents, kids, bullies, even past lives for sin that is our own.
There is no doubt that our pasts and upbringings contribute to the people we become, even to the things we end up doing. But all have sinned. And our sin is our own. Your "baggage" might have been handed to you, but your sin came hardwired.

This is why the first step to repentance is not acknowledging that some offense was caused. It's not the whole "Mistakes were made" vagueness. It's not the "If I hurt you . . ." rhetorical dance. That's Blame Transference Syndrome kicking in.
The first step in repentance is acknowledging one's sin, acknowledging the sin as sin. It is owning up, not passing the buck. It is specific and it is resolute, not vague and generally apologetic.

Nobody gets clean till everybody comes clean.


At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re the Looking Back commentary - 509am - could
you respond to my question,,comment, when you have time, I appreciate your wisdom and as part of my BCC family, I value your input and so many of our wise brothers and sisters who participate on this site with respect and thoughtful insight. I am indeed a camper, who has found a camp I respect.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Jared said...

Anonymous, I have revisited your question/comment on that post, and I guess I am unclear on what it is you'd like a response to.

Are you asking if you should or should not be disturbed that someone is asking for donations for the Fosters? If so, I don't think I can answer that for you. It doesn't "disturb" me, if that's what you're asking. But I can see how it can look like a distorted focus.

I'm of the opinion that anybody can do what they want with their money, and on a site designed specifically as a support for the Fosters, requests for donations that go to the Fosters seems in keeping with the purpose.

I would say that the church ought to be a financial priority right now, especially as there are lots of staff members left behind concerned about supporting their families who do not have rich friends or publishing deals.
But I grant liberty in the area of giving, generally speaking.

I hope that makes sense. I may be totally misunderstanding what you were asking.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks Jared, excellent answer, you interpreted my question correctly. I can appreciate the giving nature of the supporters, I'm disturbed by the fact that they may be misinformed as to the Fosters level of need. But, that would fall to them to be good stewards with their own finances - -
and to be responsibly informed.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Jared said...

Okay, I'm glad we were on the same track. Sorry about the delayed response!


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