“If a man’s [person’s] ego has been stabilized, resulting in a sure grounding of his [their] sense of personal worth and dignity, then he is [they are] in a position to appraise his [their] own intrinsic powers, gifts, talents, and abilities.” -Howard Thurman
As religious liberals who reject the doctrine of original sin, we believe we are born with an inheritance of what Parker Palmer calls “original blessing” and not an inheritance of evil. This identity of “blessing” allows us to have faith in our own ability to positively contribute to the world. We can be sure, whatever the results of our actions, that we are doing the right thing when we act from a place of authenticity.
Similarly, a doctrine of original blessing requires us to look for the best in others. As we are born good, so are others, regardless of whether they are acting out of this place of goodness. It is our work as holders of an identity of blessing to both bring forth the best in ourselves and to help others find their best selves.
The joy of aligning our identities with blessing, with inherent worth and dignity, is that we have only ourselves to look to when we are in need of wisdom. The pain of this religious orientation is that we have only ourselves to reconcile with when we make mistakes. It is our community that can provide guidance to help us re-center ourselves when we miss the mark. It is also our community that can help us forgive ourselves. It is our community that can help bring forth the blessing of goodness that is our human inheritance.