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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %RELATE SCRIPTURE PERSONAL COMMUNAL INTEGRITY LIFE 951119 Our personal and communal integrities depend greatly upon how we relate to the body of scriptures and authoritative texts which we claim are important to us--- be they holy, sacred, secular, epic, legal, poetic, scientific, prophetic and/or of other distinctive characters. If we worship our chosen scriptures---we become trapped in the prisons of idolatry and the associated personal and communal disintegration patterns. If we selectively quote scriptures in religious, secular, political, scientific, economic and/or professional efforts to achieve security and advantages at others' expense---we sacrifice our personal and communal integrity in futile efforts to achieve such unbalanced advantages. If we select, modify, pervert, confuse, quote and/or confuse scriptures to advance our own agendas at others' expense---we thereby rob such scriptures of their power to help guide honest people who are seeking to promote personal and communal integrity. If we seek to promote both personal and communal integrity and so approach respected scriptures and authoritative texts in search of guidance which may come to us through our reading and interpreting them---we may find such guidance in the light of our own experiences shared openly and honestly in secure communities where we give and receive gifts of the freedom to be safely vulnerable within intimate and mutually supportive relationships. We cannot use scriptures as technical means by which to achieve our own salvation, or the salvation of those whom we may choose to favor---for if we seek to so so we presume to be in charge with little or no respect for the personal and communal integrity of any people who may seem to stand in our way. Such presumption leads to alienation and to personal and communal disintegration---no matter how sincere, committed, dedicated and powerful we may be or appear to be. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================