Pages

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is sin?

Greed, lust, sloth, etc may be the initial way to answer the question of what sin is. And to be sure, these are real things. Looking at Wall Street might show evidence of greed. The fact that the porn industry is booming might be evidence to suggest sexual lust is in high gear. Look at how much time is wasted by people on blogs and facebook (click here to see all my firends and read my status updates ;-)) and perhaps it could be said sloth is infecting us...and let's throw in some hypocisy...just for full disclosure on my part.

I do not contest these as sin. But maybe I do a little bit. What if greed and sloth and lust etc are not so much sin itself, but rather they are outcomes of sin? What if sin is more like a web of influences? What if sin is an ubiquitous, but nuanced, network of forces which work against humans being fully human? Could it be that when we try not being greedy or selfish we are still not getting at the source? Could it be that in trying to be good by not being bad as defined by what I am calling the outcomes of sin, that we remain fully vulnerable to fall into another part of the network of forces which is sin?

Furthermore, what if the power of this de-humanizing network of forces I am referring to as sin is difficult to detect or avoid? What if it is everywhere you ahve been or will go? What if this network of forces is "The Matrix" in a sense - a simulacra of life meant to provide a minimally acceptable experience of life which would for the most part suffice most people, but systematically de-humanize people, degrading their free will, their capacity to give and receive love, and slowly separate people from their ability to know and be known?

Is this is sin, then I need rescue more than I ever believed I ever did.

Thoughts?

If this perspective more closely approximated the truth of sin, I wonder what the implications would be for defining morality. How would this more nuanced and mystrious view of sin influence how people lived and treated each other?

6 comments:

Scholar Wannabe said...

You might find it interesting to study how Romans depicts sin (paying particular attention to the verbs associated with the word in its noun and adjectival forms).

Anonymous said...

I got lost in the second paragraph.

paul Thomson said...

yup just what I've (and some here) been feeling of late
but perhaps maybe it's even more tangible and concrete than this... kinda like right under our noses - just too shocking o face maybe?

in scotland people are just waking up to the fact that that we have been in bed with empire for 500 years- external effects: millions died from wars & famine india, Ireland to africa via enclosure economics and colonialisation -internal effects: clearances put 85% of it into hands of 100 people and left millions to survive inhumanely fast industrialisation - our cities still have worst alcoholism/health, masochism/domestic violence and sectarianism in europe- worst still: the slave trade paid for this industrialisation - worse still:
it was fuelled by an ontology and praxis of christianity that was coopted and highly shaped by its love of empire under the guise of following christ

If the past isn't another country - and - but here in the present - in our towns and cities and health system and foreign policy...

then this 'selling out to empire - is a concreting or incarnating - as walter wink would say: 'naming' of 'sin' - the shadow-side in our powers - that we fear to face-

then repentance - too need not be so vague or privatised but oddly shockingly empowering

and is akin to practical detoxing piece by piece from a 500 years of a network of relationships - a story of scottishness of christian scottishness - as victim of empire - to: a partner in crime with england in creating an empire that turned the world map pink and the earth red with slaves and crashed on the shores of the trenches of world war 1 - and then 2


(mad professor prophetic antidote approach - trying out cure on his own bod first?)
..do the opposite of the above - the opposite of empire - :

1. SECTARIANISM: from saints MANAGE God and people ie mono-congregations and Xtian organisations to saints 'cross the jordan' and GIVE AWAY ourselves, gifts, across and dreams across and into every part of the creation/city

2. ADDICTION: move from funding projects that promote temple-service DEPENDANCY (via colonial strings/feedback loops) to releasing & funding projects that serve saints, creation and the poor around the city/region - with NO STRINGS attached

3. MASOCHISM: move from violent 'sacred-secular' worldview that creates toxic theologies and reality numbing fantasies that leads to family and community and self breakdown- to imaginative active 'comic' non-violent resistance to 'the real enemy' that steals, kills and destroys and coopts and seduces us all- empire - in our economics, politics and (especially -cos its so hidden and masked) religious/christian praxis, economy and organisation

- we (saints from almost every denomination and roots imaginable and mostly none- who are having a crack at the above) are 'guerilla funding' 30 projects across our city undercover and 'with no strings - from innovative ideas, networks, crazy dreams and wild projects in estates, health law education, arts, justice, media.. many of us used to be into emerging church stuff- 3 years ago we
went off the radar... we had to - it's the last fag end of middle class christian empire

( also the fact that none of the poorest in our city 'got' emerging church - was the warning bell- that emerging stuff does not have enough energy to engage the powers in our country- via its dependancy on existing christian powers/landscape which have colonised our asses for years ) and och! its a heck of a lot more fun!

so far - great blog! thought I'd chip in (;-)

paul thomson said...

oopsie daisy- fag = cigarette btw in Britain - btw (;-)

...cigarette butt end of a tired old christian empire - it should read...

paul thomson said...

oopsie daisy- fag = cigarette btw in Britain - btw (;-)

...cigarette butt end of a tired old christian empire - it should read...

paul Thomson said...

yup just what I've (and some here) been feeling of late
but perhaps maybe it's even more tangible and concrete than this... kinda like right under our noses - just too shocking o face maybe?

in scotland people are just waking up to the fact that that we have been in bed with empire for 500 years- external effects: millions died from wars & famine india, Ireland to africa via enclosure economics and colonialisation -internal effects: clearances put 85% of it into hands of 100 people and left millions to survive inhumanely fast industrialisation - our cities still have worst alcoholism/health, masochism/domestic violence and sectarianism in europe- worst still: the slave trade paid for this industrialisation - worse still:
it was fuelled by an ontology and praxis of christianity that was coopted and highly shaped by its love of empire under the guise of following christ

If the past isn't another country - and - but here in the present - in our towns and cities and health system and foreign policy...

then this 'selling out to empire - is a concreting or incarnating - as walter wink would say: 'naming' of 'sin' - the shadow-side in our powers - that we fear to face-

then repentance - too need not be so vague or privatised but oddly shockingly empowering

and is akin to practical detoxing piece by piece from a 500 years of a network of relationships - a story of scottishness of christian scottishness - as victim of empire - to: a partner in crime with england in creating an empire that turned the world map pink and the earth red with slaves and crashed on the shores of the trenches of world war 1 - and then 2


(mad professor prophetic antidote approach - trying out cure on his own bod first?)
..do the opposite of the above - the opposite of empire - :

1. SECTARIANISM: from saints MANAGE God and people ie mono-congregations and Xtian organisations to saints 'cross the jordan' and GIVE AWAY ourselves, gifts, across and dreams across and into every part of the creation/city

2. ADDICTION: move from funding projects that promote temple-service DEPENDANCY (via colonial strings/feedback loops) to releasing & funding projects that serve saints, creation and the poor around the city/region - with NO STRINGS attached

3. MASOCHISM: move from violent 'sacred-secular' worldview that creates toxic theologies and reality numbing fantasies that leads to family and community and self breakdown- to imaginative active 'comic' non-violent resistance to 'the real enemy' that steals, kills and destroys and coopts and seduces us all- empire - in our economics, politics and (especially -cos its so hidden and masked) religious/christian praxis, economy and organisation

- we (saints from almost every denomination and roots imaginable and mostly none- who are having a crack at the above) are 'guerilla funding' 30 projects across our city undercover and 'with no strings - from innovative ideas, networks, crazy dreams and wild projects in estates, health law education, arts, justice, media.. many of us used to be into emerging church stuff- 3 years ago we
went off the radar... we had to - it's the last fag end of middle class christian empire

( also the fact that none of the poorest in our city 'got' emerging church - was the warning bell- that emerging stuff does not have enough energy to engage the powers in our country- via its dependancy on existing christian powers/landscape which have colonised our asses for years ) and och! its a heck of a lot more fun!

so far - great blog! thought I'd chip in (;-)