Yes, Sheelah, I believe you were correct to describe what I observed as an instantiation of how “The idea of the autonomous self really does die hard.” I was reviewing the first video of module one yesterday. In the introductory bit, before the lessons begin, James says, “What I hope you are going to get from this course is quite how far removed Christianity really is from being all about how you should behave yourself—how what it is really all about is how much you are loved.”
I run in circles where the height, depth and breadth of God’s love is proclaimed. However, it is most often proclaimed in such a way that the ‘me’ in ‘God loves me’ somehow precedes God’s loving. There is an unsightly twist in this messaging whereby the greatness of God’s love is demonstrated primarily in relief against a list of contemptible attributes belonging to those God loves in spite of themselves. It presupposes that we must know an existence as sinful people before we can adequately appreciate God’s love. How do I communicate that God doesn’t need great sin to frame the greatness of divine love? I try to say, “God doesn’t need us to be sinful! God loves us just how Fred Rogers said he liked his audiences—just the way you are.” But my audience hears a man who can’t come to grips with his own sinfulness and, thereby, can’t see just how much God loves him.
It’s comical really. Two sides berating the other with the same accusation: “You don’t understand how much God loves you!” –“No, it’s you who doesn’t understand how much God loves you.” Rivals insisting on explaining the love of God instead of practicing it.
No, Sheelah, I’ve yet to come up with any effective examples for illustrating how desire is essentially mimetic. Ironically, I’ve seen myself become an example of mimetic desire in my failed attempts to illustrate mimetic desire. But the miserable example I’ve made of myself on these occasions is hardly illustrative to those who don’t already know what to look for.