Imputation is the prime "agent" within the great dynamic of the Grace of God. As one need never tire of saying, imputation is when you regard someone as better (or finer or prettier or stronger or kinder) than they are. And the effect of imputation is to make the person actually become, in "real time" and real life, the way they are being regarded.
Often imputation is understood as a sort of "legal fiction", by which you just put a cloak over a wound and by not actually treating the wound allow it to fester and contaminate. This misunderstanding is dispelled when you demonstrate imputation from life -- which not enough exponents of it do! The fact is, romantic love as well as the love of parents for their children, and also the love of mentors and teachers to those in their charge, almost always, if it is to work, includes the "agency" or instrument of imputation. In other words, you're seen as if you were better than you see yourself; and the effect of this in practice is that you wordlessly change and get better. It just happens! And it happens all the time.
This episode of PZ's Podcast begins with a 'Philadelphia Soul' instance of imputation, in a track by The Spinners entitled "Lazy Susan". The song is both improbable and wonderful. I can almost guarantee that on the second listen, you will tear up. (I feel certain Sarah Condon will. At least one hopes so.)
Then I try to explain how imputation works in life, concluding with reference to Taylor Caldwell's 1960 novel entitled "The Listener". I have to thank Stu Shelby for quoting that novel during his Palm Sunday sermon. (I had never heard of it before.) In the novel, a totally compassionate yet hidden 'Listener" evokes complete, unsparing self-disclosure and confession on the part of sufferers. And they are each changed. "The Listener" is a Run-Don't-Walk novel for Mockingbird -- let alone, everybody..
Episode 271 of PZ's Podcast is dedicated to 'Father Stu', Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, FL.