wallowing in sin

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One of the big critiques of the Emerging Church is it has a deficient, according to some, understanding of the harsher realities of human existence. It wants to be positive and accepting, rather than fire and brimstone convicting.

I’m of the opinion there’s something to be found here in this critique, and something to be developed. For Emerging Church to really discover a contributing theology I think it will have to address in new forms the classic topics. Theology is such a huge thing there isn’t an era that can encompass its fullness, and indeed I think God is so entirely grand that he offers us revelation through space and time. We need thousands of years of consideration to begin to discover him in some respects, and he has allowed us this time to wrestle with what he has done and what he has doing, sending his Son and his Spirit to reveal and teach.

The concept of sin touches on so much of our reality, towards God and towards others, I’m thinking it might be quite interesting to explore how we in our era can discover the concepts anew. This is not to deny what has been past, indeed it is to embrace it for what it teaches and seek to discover if we are best to be reminded or can in fact add some nuance to the discussion. Such nuances, I suspect, are not in the order of “sin is bad, all people do it, and really they shouldn’t but can’t help it, so there’s Christ.” Rather, such nuances would explore what is the nature of sin itself. What is it doing in us, through us, to us? How do we parse its labyrinth ways, and in our state of salvation begin to progress towards the quite New Testament exhortation of perfection.

Do we know the battle we are fighting? Or do we each, on our own, fight in isolated caverns flailing our arms about and grabbing whatever is near to beat down our most pernicious selves?

Ah, but the critique stands, and not only for the part of the church which tells the world it is emerging. We’ve not, I find, a good counsel on the wiles of our wiles. None of recent writing at least.

I know what to discover in ancient texts written with the dust of deserts likely still clogging the quill. Only I don’t quite know what I would read if I sought a text written on sin, or sins, in the past couple of centuries, or decades, or years, or weeks. Well, certainly there are texts relating the vast array of sinfulness, one need only type particular phrases into google to find examples abounding. But, I’m not looking for proof. I’m wanting to hear discussion on the nature of sin, and how it works, what it looks like from the perspective of God, and how we go about dealing with it.

I take this back. I do know of one book, a very good one subtitled a Breviary of Sin. That’s one book. Since I’m somewhat out of the loop of contemporary Christian publishing I figure there are more. Only I don’t know their names. Any suggestions, guidance, direction?

4 Responses to “wallowing in sin”

  1. sonja Says:

    Hmmm … I just finished an interesting discussion on sin in the middle of The Gospel According to Moses: What My Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus. The book is not about sin in it’s entirety, but there is a significant portion dedicated to original sin and how it manifests in creation and through us. It’s fairly compelling.

  2. Sin Says:

    What we have become as Sinners

  3. Patrick Says:

    wonderful suggestions! Precisely the kind of thing I’m after.

    I’m excited about reading both books.

  4. Bissage Says:

    Paddy O.,

    Please forgive my contacting you this way. I need to maintain my anonymity for professional reasons.

    I’d just like to say I read the 5:15 comment you posted to Ann Althouse on 7/26/06 and was struck by its beauty. I found it quite moving. Thank you.