Archive for the ‘Sin’ Category

The Joy of Sinning

November 3, 2020

The Apostle Paul writing some of his most poignant thoughts talked of how he gets upset with himself when he does what he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do what he wants.

Augustine (au-GUS-tin, the city in Florida is au-gus-TEEN) of Hippo wrote in his Confessions about a time when at age 16 (the brains of 16-year-old boys were just as undeveloped in 360 as 2020) when he and a group of other boys stole a large quantity of pears and then wound up just throwing them to the pigs. He was puzzling why he did it.

The real pleasure was simply in doing something that was not allowed.

Sometimes I think I’m like Augustine where I can suddenly remember seemingly every stupid thing I’ve done like that. People thought I was a good boy–I wasn’t. At least, not always.

That carries over even until today, I fear.

Often when I read current news, I have the feeling that there are many in our society who are acting out that same inner drive toward sin–the pleasure lies in the knowledge that it is not allowed.

Augustine mourns that he did not know God when he was 16, and he wishes that he would have. I bet most of us are in that same boat.

But today is a new day. Life will put before us this very day opportunities to do things not allowed yet pleasing to our hearts. Or–we could pause, re-focus, calm down, and derive pleasure from being part of the Kingdom of God.

We can pick up Paul’s challenge and sometimes do what we know we should as Jesus-followers.

Politically Correct

December 11, 2018

Many people (white men?) complain about the “politically correct” speech movement. They seem to feel it is a restraint on their freedom.

Why?

Do we need to be free to speak about people in demeaning terms?

Do we need to be free to preach hatred?

The founders of the American Republic were rightly concerned that people would grab onto the “rights” without considering the balancing “responsibilities”.

Especially as Christians, do we need social pressure to speak respectfully of others? To speak wisdom? To think before we speak (read the letter of James for a longer essay on this)?

I am almost never on Facebook anymore. I don’t see some of the memes going around. But I guess there is a kerfluffel about the “Christmas” song “Baby It’s Cold Out There.”

First, hate to burst your bubble, but this isn’t a Christmas song. It’s a winter song.

Next, the song is about a man convincing a reluctant woman to have sex with him. It is done playfully. That makes it even more dangerous.

Have we learned nothing from the last several years? Finding ways to convince or force others into having sex is simply not correct behavior. Forget “politically correct.” It is not morally correct.

In the terms of the Proverbs, many people seem to want the right to be a fool when we should be growing into Wisdom.

You’ve Got Some ‘splainin’ To Do

July 5, 2016

“Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!” Desi Arnaz to Lucille Ball

One of the earliest of TV comedies was the Lucille Ball show. It featured a crazy “housewife” and her Cuban band director husband–Lucy and Ricky. She was forever getting herself into impossible situations and then Ricky would discover the scheme of the week.

Steve Carter, teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, was speaking Sunday on Paul’s second letter to his mentee Timothy (2:14-17). Paul instructed Timothy as a pastor and leader to warn people about the destructiveness of empty chatter.

Carter proceeded to pull up Facebook on his laptop (projected to us all, of course), and showed some of the more sanitized of his “news” feed. The loudest response came when he mentioned that many posts are made late at night. “There’s nothing you have to say at 11:45 pm that the world needs to know,” he stated.

It is hard to count the number of times I want to respond to the lies, exaggerations, innuendos, and hate I see spewed by people I know who call themselves Christians. If “by your fruits you will be known” means anything, perhaps more of us should be looking at the fruits of our hearts as broadcast to the world through our Facebook posts.

Well, then I stop, let it sit for a while, and then realize that nothing I say will have any impact on the person. It’s best to just not read it in the first place (you can unfollow people who continually violate that “mindless chatter” stuff and save yourself a few points of blood pressure increase). If by happenstance you do read the stuff, just let it slide by.

But the thought came to me picturing these Christians (especially) on this topic facing God someday and hearing, “About that Facebook thing, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Gluttony

June 6, 2016

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31

Picture a large seafood buffet restaurant. He had a plate already full of a variety of fish and shrimp. He added crab legs. And he added crab legs. And he piled on still more crab legs. When he walked away there were six piled atop his plate.

I had plenty to eat–2 cups of clam chowder, a dozen peel-n-eat shrimp, a set of crab legs, corn on the cob (well the small pieces of cherry cobbler and apple cobbler were over the top)–and felt like I had barely snacked compared to what I saw going on around the serving lines.

The image of the “Seven Deadly Sins” came to mind as I sat there. One of them being gluttony.

The list came from Pope Gregory I around 600 CE.

7 Deadly Sins List:

  1. Envy = the desire to have an item or experience that someone else possesses
  2. Gluttony = excessive ongoing consumption of food or drink
  3. Greed or Avarice = an excessive pursuit of material possessions
  4. Lust = an uncontrollable passion or longing, especially for sexual desires
  5. Pride = excessive view of one’s self without regard to others.
  6. Sloth = excessive laziness or the failure to act and utilize one’s talents
  7. Wrath = uncontrollable feelings of anger and hate towards another person

Yes, one night out at a buffet does not a glutton make. But it is worth considering how much of our attention is devoted to overeating. It certainly shows up around our waistlines!

The list (not found this way in the Bible, by the way, but compiled from many Biblical sources) brings to awareness the many ways that we let focus on ourselves take away our focus on God.

As we  focus, so we live. We need that daily time of reflection to bring God into our awareness so that we focus on what is right and good.