Kierkegaard and repentance

by Andrea Elizabeth

In listening to critiques of Kierkegaard (some found here, #2), I’m getting annoyed with dismissals that seem to me to be excuses not to deal with his main point – in order to live before God, we must get rid of our delusions, with which we are downright crusty and incapacitated. Yes there is strength to cope and grace in the Church, but that is only comfort after individually deciding to get rid of other crutches. He may have felt guilty about Regina, and may not have accepted forgiveness, sort of like Father Anatoly living a life based on his belief he killed his captain in Ostrov, but “cheap grace” is the opposite problem that I believe Bonhoeffer, who was deeply affected by Kierkegaard, dealt with. Modern Christians too easily dismiss personal asceticism, and the need to literally and actively get clean before God, not just passively accept  Christ’s cleanliness and righteousness. Even if repentance is triggered by placing too much importance on a perceived offense. We are often too blind to know what our real offenses are.