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.
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.
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.
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.