I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Co-Dependency is Not the Problem

The other afternoon Fanny and I were standing in the kitchen discussing the concept of "co-dependency." Now, it may be granted that certain folks find too much significance and comfort in a relationship with this or that person. However, I don't think a self-conscious, Christ-conscious Christian should use the popular psycho-babble term co-dependency to describe this situation.

Rather, we've had the correct diagnosis for centuries in Scripture; it is called idolatry. It is elevating another mere mortal to a deified status, and making them to bear the burden of trying to live as your God. We don't need some wacked Freudian analysis or Banduran social theory to explain this. The root of this problematic behavior is that a person isn't co-dependent on the right One; the idolatrous relationship isn’t co-dependency, it's rooted in a failure in being co-dependent on Christ.

However, popular psychology has vilified the concept of co-dependency. This "weakness" is the strength, the muscles and sinews, of the Church! Turning the concept of co-dependency into a "disorder," a "condition," or worse a "disease" (as though behavior is subject to pathology--pleeeez!), or any other term of derision was made easy by our culture's crass individualistic tendencies. Anyone who doesn't wish to be "an island to herself" is thought to be "co-dependent." So, the church is counter-cultural by default, in so far as she is heeding Christ's command to be "co-dependent" upon him and one another. 

I don't think one would risk being impious to say that the Trinity is nothing short of the Ultimate Co-Dependency. No one Person could be what he is in isolation from the other two. In fact, most historic heresies have ultimately been instances of attempted theo-therapeutic philosophies, which have sought to "heal" God's co-dependency within himself.   

St. Paul said, "Your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). If a person has a problem with being co-dependent, then, well...I suppose there are other religions out there.

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