Sin

To my good friends–

This morning I was disturbed by reading of Martin Luther King’s adoption of the notion that humankind is sin-oriented: I think that is too discouragement-centered. The idea of sin as used in those contexts is mushy and ill-defined. It stands for rebellion and it stands for illness. It stands for purposeful conduct and slip-ups. It stands for missing the mark and for having no mark at all. It stands for not knowing there is a God, and for separation from God. It stands for guilt.

For me, as of today, sin means missing the mark, which can be good, and for rebellion, a deliberate separation from G-d. Guilt is bad. It is bad for people to put guilt on others for merely missing the mark. As a motivating factor, guilt for missing the mark is bad. On the other side, there is rebellion which is a stage of growth, and there is an apparently irrevocable turning of one’s back, a choosing of another path. These are the redeemable and the incorrigible. The latter include also the evil.

Now we can have two responses, at least, to those missing the mark: we can say, Great, you have found a new path to G-d and neighbor; we can say Here, we will help you hit the mark next time. But to impose guilt and shame is misguided at best, evil at worst.

Rebellion prompts at least two responses: How’s that working for you? and punishment. The more profitable most of the time would be the first.

For the evil, we must resist, with love.

My experience, moreover is not that humankind is sin-oriented but just the opposite: people want to do good, they want to be loving and be loved. Beyond that, people want to raise the general level and go toward growing and nurturing others. Interdependence is what adults seek. We have aspirations built in, hardwired as the saying goes. Sin and guilt are side trips. Mob cruelty and Hitler and Saddam and Osama bin Laden and evil people throughout history are aberrations. People are worth loving; people are worth having faith in. And in them we see G-d. If you have seen me, why do you say Show us the father? Jesus may have been pointing to a truth bigger than we have seen. Part of that truth may be that we are one with the Father, we are of the same substance, we are the likeness. At base we are good, at base we are love.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on October 22nd, 2005 | No Comments »

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