Discipleship and Desire: The Death of the Self

What does “death to self” mean? Of course, it is not the literal/physical death of the body. So what part of the self is put to death according to the Christian discourse? While often thought so, this does not mean the death of desires or Desire, selfish or not. Why? Because merely placing the death (and therefore essentially life) of the self here, in desire, ends up affirming two discourses antithetical to the gospel.

The first is the discourse of Law and transgression which sees salvation in the denial of desire, b/c all desire is evil, which polarizes faith and works such that we can’t make any sense of a good deed (thank to Kant’s understanding of Duty and the ethical demand). This denial of desires drives wedge b/w justification (faith) and sanctification (works) which only confuses the development of discipleship.

The second is the discourse of liberal capitalism which confirms and legitimates all desires and distinguishes among desires only according to individual freedom and not on the communal good. Therefore, the outright denial, instead of the discernment among desires, ends up justifying the logic of capitalism instead of problematizing it.

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