The Revenge Of The Slug!

slug ©2007 Mark Bannerman

©2007 Mark Bannerman .com

I stir up a lot of emotions in others when I acknowledge my own “slugness.” What this means is that I observe my faults and recognize that these faults are real character traits that I must contend with throughout my life. Admitting to my own “sluggness” disturbs people.

Some readers and friends have suggested that I am too preoccupied with negative things and should be more focused on the positive news and the joy that the Lord God is transforming me into a “new creature.” People obviously find more comfort in the latter approach and most churches exist to provide such comfort to allay unrest of heart and mind by offering the hope of “good news.”

Although humankind’s proclivity toward evil is not denied by my readers, many insist that true worshippers should not dwell on their “slugness” but should look forward and embrace the new person that the Lord God is creating within us.

In other words, my focus is wrong.

However, I feel that insisting spiritual transformation is the “enhancement of a positive state” can present an obstacle to humility. Admitting to my own “slugness” is simply streetwise religion.

Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg flat-out states that the primary thing in humility is to acknowledge that, of oneself, he or she is nothing but evil and falsity (slugness). Furthermore, true repentance is effected solely through humility—and this through the recognition and confession of the heart that of oneself, one is of such a faulty inner nature (slugness).

Therefore, humility must remain active even when we are looking forward to better things. According to Swedenborg, the angels of even the highest heaven never lose sight of their humility and imperfections. Otherwise, they would dive headlong into hell (and say bye-bye to the “new creature”).

Today, many people are so shattered by bad events and tragedies in their lives that they can easily take their eye off the ball. Instead, they will seek out people and institutions that will gladly prop them up, enhance their self-esteem and offer hope.

When the Lord was in the world and died on the cross He saved no one! Rather, He kept the door open for salvation. Self-esteem and hope must be replaced by angelic self-esteem and action. Angelic self-esteem must come from a different kind of comfort—that in sincere humility one is doing God’s will. Without such humility one cannot be in true innocence.


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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4 Responses to The Revenge Of The Slug!

  1. PTM says:

    Dear GodGuy,
    How I wish I had a repentant and humble slug like you do, but I’m just not blessed that way like you. My slug thinks faults are not so bad at all, that why I suspect my slug’s vision and judgment is highly prejudiced, and I have long since quit depending on my slug to inspect itself or admit to any of its own faults and weaknesses. Even when it does discover some dark thing, my slug can come up with very ingenious excuses to keep it pleasure in sins. The slug in me is totally useless, I swear it even mistakes evil for good and light for darkness. Therefore, I don’t give my slug credit for being able to do anything good, especially trust it to judge itself.
    It’s the proportion of new creature alive in me who observes and inspects and resists unholy things that remain polluting my temple. It is the new creature that is endowed with the sense and inclinations to shuns evils and cry out to the Lord for strength for the battles. That’s why I identify and focus on him who is enthroned as Christ in me, and not on the slug.
    Obviously I seem to stir up emotion in others too when I acknowledge the “new creation” in me. A testimony that exalts the name of Christ is immediately perceived with suspicion and alarm. I think it even manages to arouse Cain in some, who’s countenance is fallen.
    GodGuy, I’m wondering whether this means the eternal friendship you offered before is off now? I was looking forward to getting to know you more.

    I really believe this is an important subject for slugs and new creatures alike to take to the Lord and sincerely seek his help to correctly understand.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear PTM,

    I think most people would take your position. And why wouldn’t we still be friends? Friends can disagree. The purpose of this blog is to challenge and stretch people’s neurons – nothing wrong with that. I am unafraid to take on the most difficult issues possible.

    I find my slugness useful in that it offers me lots of material to work with. Humility is not some vague acknowledgment that we are imperfect. The quality of our humility comes from the SPECIFIC faults we identify and resist (with the Lord’s help). The building material of the “new creature” comes from the slug, just as the building material for the butterfly comes from the caterpillar. (The Lord God makes use of everything!)

    By the way, you aroused my interest when you said that a group you were associated with recently split up. Hmmm – I would think that “new creatures” would strengthen their bonds. Could you offer more info?

    Spiritually yours,

  3. PTM says:

    Dear GodGuy,
    I think many people who read scripture take my position since that is where it comes from. As a resisting force I can say my slug is useful too and agree that God makes use of everything. That is not the point we disagree on. What makes no sense to me is your idea that as a slug you CAN identify SPECIFIC faults and resist them. How do you do you as only a slug do that GodGuy, I asked you before but you did not answer. I think you can’t have your cake and eat it too, either your slug does this good thing for its own development or it cannot do any good at all. Swedenborg teaches the slug is purely evil and can do no good thing on its own. That’s why the Lord is not building on the slug foundation at all but on a new foundation in Christ. You are totally wrong about where the building material comes from. The slug is a resisting force, like the wind or a strong current to swim against. It’s not any of the building material for the new creature. The Lord is building our new temple with holy substances on an entirely new foundation.

    Does your slug cry out to God for help to resist its own faults? I tell you that mine does not. To me this sounds like you want to speak out of both sides of your mouth.

    My group was a few who enjoyed fellowship and loved to discuss scripture and sharing about our spiritual experiences. We were close and even now still love each other deeply. We got along very well until a professed slug came on board and began to introduce doctrine from the slug perspective. Here’s a small sample: I am ONLY slug so I cannot cooperate with God in my salvation. God is sovereign and man is slug so man cannot have have any freewill at all. God is limited to saving mankind by violating slug will without man’s consent or cooperation. As slug we cannot do anything but wait in a passive “resting upon God” for Him to save us. Some were said to be predestined for salvation in this life, others not, but God eventually would save all mankind.

    Since the new creature was never acknowledged reformation and regeneration could not even being to be understood. Those in our group who took this perspective claimed they had the more “humble” and superior ground.

    I learned the slug and new creature camps cannot bond or reconcile because they represent two opposite faces of God’s grace. We need to learn how the two faces of grace work together instead of always trying to separate them.

    It’s too long a story to write here but maybe this helps your curiosity a bit.

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear PTM,

    Please read Swedenborg’s chapters on Repentance, Reformation and Regeneration in his “True Christian Religion.” If we do not identify SPECIFIC faults and evils, and resist them, how can the Lord be alerted to what we seriously want changed in our lives? Regeneration is reciprocal! Swedenborg observed in the spiritual world that those of the reformed Christian church (protestant faith-aloners) were particularly horrified by such a responsibility – they simply had the vague notion that they were corrupt but feared looking any deeper within.

    The Lord challenges us to look deeper!

    The individuals you describe (who broke away) don’t seem to understand slugness within the Swedenborgian framework (they sound more like Calvinists). We must cooperate with the Lord. I have always insisted that we seek the Lord’s help – what is wrong with that? Besides, all evil is connected. Only the Lord God can help us take on Hell’s full fury.

    If the Lord had not victoriously battled the hells while living in the world they would have infected heaven and brought down even the highest angels (new creatures) and the human race would have been destroyed!

    Spiritually yours,

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