What is sin?

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Is perhaps, for me, now the most irrelevant question to debate.

We have The Law and the Old Covenant.  We have The Cross and the New Covenant.  We have this Book and that Book.  We have the Scales of This and by the Grace of That.  We have prayers of intercession and repentance.  We have The Garden and our unworthy impregnated genes ever since.  We had the ability to NOT sin taken from us (allegedly) … and if that isn’t enough – we make  the ability to Love (without condition) part of the sin package – so make the ability to Love (without condition) also beyond our wherewithal.

In fact – if I was to believe all the religious teachings I have been taught – I would think myself stripped and neutered of our Creator’s intended template and very much faulty-goods.

I used to think that.

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But then I got to thinking.

Why do we excuse ourselves … ?  Why is it that Love (without condition) is the remit only of God and not me … ?  Why must I wait until I die before I experience/become Love Without Condition … ?  And it’s all because of what I was taught.

So either I was unlucky and had a load of false teachers – or The Teaching I got has the seal of approval from God.

It can’t be both.

But more than that – I got to thinking that Sin is the fuel on which religions and faiths (of all creeds and colours) run …
* All require me to be indebted to a God.
* All require me to seek forgiveness (on a regular basis).
* All demand my obedience and sacrifice.
* All promise – in return – that I will live for ever.
* And all because of Sin.

Take away Sin and there is no reason for all the embedded/correct transactions and conditions.  But keep Sin embedded/accepted … and Love (without condition) becomes unattainable because of Sin.  Because “Love (without condition)” I was taught requires no Sin.  And as we are all “sinners” (I was taught) I cannot Love (without condition).  Catch-22 (or biblically correct).

Now call me unqualified in God, but the God I know hasn’t a bad bone in his vaporous body …

I haven’t been baptised … I don’t pray (in the taught way) a great deal … I am known to use the odd swear word or three … I am not perfect but neither am I imperfect BECAUSE of sin … I am “imperfect” because there are a load of different ways of seeing/doing the same stuff – a load of different conclusions/actions depending on who you ask.

So whatever I do (or don’t do) someone else would do it differently.  And when I am deemed to have been “wrong” or “bad” … ?  It’s a hop-skip-and-jump to “I have sinned”.  Because I always will.

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And then we are straight back to “what is sin?”

“When I was bad doing that – was it sin” … “When I was wrong to think that – is it sin … ?”  And then what level of involvement do I need from God … ?  One hundred Hail Mary’s or a spiritual slap on the wrist and don’t do it again?

And so I walk this earth confused AND convinced both at the same time.

Confused as to will I ever get out of this “sin-quicksand” I am taught that I am in – Convinced I never can get out because God says (allegedly) that I must live in this sin-quicksand my whole life.  Is it any wonder I consider myself incapable of Love (without condition)?  Is it any wonder that “I” cannot stop reaching for “my” selective proof-verses that prove(!) why “I” cannot Love (without condition) – and that “I” must sin?

It’s because God says – that’s why.

I am unqualified in God.  I have no pieces of paper from any earthly seminary or theological college.  I cannot speak Greek, Arabic or any other “biblical language”.  I don’t read the bible much, I don’t pray much, and I don’t go to church much.  I tick many boxes of a sinner of the Lost World – perhaps worse than that – perhaps a false teacher.

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But the God Soft Hands Jesus I know never sees me that way.  Never judges me that way.

GSHJ seems content to walk my wayward walk.  To be with me on Sundays when we both should be in church.  To talk with me about the bible without ever opening a page.  To celebrate the good in me and comfort the bad I can and am from time to time.  God Soft Hands Jesus has all the time in the world for Love without condition.

But has little or none for sin.

Isn’t that The Way?  Isn’t that being a disciple? 

Isn’t that what he spent three years teaching and living?  Isn’t that why he took the established “church” to task so often?  Didn’t he find being “biblically correct” something incorrect?  Didn’t he question “privileges of service”?  Didn’t he focus on Love (without condition) with ne’er a “how many times have your prayed” …read the bible … attended church … volunteered for this that and also the other … how much have you tithed … are you dressed appropriately … are you a man (you are welcome) or a woman (cant lead I’m afraid) … ?

We see Pharisees only in the bible.  We see The Law only in others.  We think we are correct in our bible understanding.  We buy-into being a mature or immature Christian.  We love our Christian celebs and writers.  We praise ourselves for our ecumenical broad-mindedness.  We think the pews in church should be full to overflowing.  We think our church better than their church.

Even when we read the bible we don’t “read the bible” it seems.

But we do worry about sin.

We don’t think we can ever escape it.  Nor do we think we can Love without condition.  Which means this wonderful planet will always be a sin-riddled-cess-pit to us.  All because we obsess over sin.

All because we need sin more than Love.

Thank you.

Paul

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Giving God a bad name

I have a lot of questions. Not so many answers.

But some questions need answers.

Like why does it matter so much “proving God” – why does faith and belief need to be supported by evidence – is that not an incompatible mix – and are there areas of our lives where belief and supporting evidence are missing – yet we live quite happily with that gap – and if we can do that – why can we not with “God stuff”?

Because I find that a lot of people who need “proof of God” have been “hurt by God”. That the God they were taught, browbeaten into believing – “that God” – let them down.  “That God” doesn’t fix everything as they were taught He would … “That God” doesn’t care like they were taught He did care.

And just like so many relationships that end badly – where “it ends” can become fixed in time – where everything changes but the hurt – and the hurt festers – and “the wounded party” festers.  And every injustice thereafter, every God-lover thereafter, every prayer and hymn and innocent enthusiasm for God stuff thereafter … that just rubs salt into an open wound.

I see no difference between “that” and any relationship that was so important, so sustaining, so life-giving – but was then torn asunder – without closure – with no tidying the loose threads – without any moving on.  It happens.  And there are lots of ways we learn to live without healing every “rift” that happens in our lives.

But when it comes to God?

I see “membership issues” – I see “believers” arguing with “non-believers” – I see both sides applying “logic and objectivity” to ”faith and belief” – refusing to see that they are opposite sides of the same coin (“opposite sides of different universes” seems to be the preferred starting point).

Jesus was a cool dude when it came to demolishing “non-believing-believers”:

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” Mark 12:18-27

I read the verses above and focus on the final four words: “You are quite wrong” – I read the verses above and hold it as a lesson learned: how to deal with those who have not healed, who do not wish to heal – how to deal with “non-believing-believers”.

And I am quite wrong to do so.

Because when someone tells me I am wrong to believe in God, wrong to have a relationship with God, asks for my proof, demands to see the archaeology, insists on historical evidence outside of the bible, smirks at my living my life on a lie … all of that and more (the stuff I see below so many posts) … I always wonder: If you have no “God” that you believe(d) in – why bother to even ask the question?  And why waste your time listening/reading an answer we both know you will reject?  So what more might we have in common?

But if that is not enough, I am reminded of  some post-Jesus verses that are relevant (and which everyone loves to paraphrase): “If I am this … that … or the other – AND DO NOT HAVE LOVE – I am only … I am nothing … I have nothing – because love does not … love never fails … and the greatest is love” 1 Corinthians 13  

But if love is too “nice” for you …

If I am really in a “healthy relationship” – why would there EVER be a need to hurt others (and because I have no idea what may happen tomorrow in my life and in my relationship with God – just as those who hurt had no idea what was in their “tomorrow”)?

But if that cuts no ice …

Even God Soft Hands Jesus never “healed them all”. So when you can’t either … why would you even think you could?

And if none of that does it for you …

Please don’t do God a disservice by beating-up others because they disagree with you.   It just gives God (and me) a bad name.