Today’s theme ‘Snake@work’ began by looking at the idea of sin.
Sin is ‘our great offering to the world’ because it is our human common denominator, crossing all boundaries of wealth and status. In the past it has been our sin to think that the poor are more sinful than the rich. The idea of ‘original sin’ is that it a part of our human condition. So we cannot be in the game of pointing a finger at others. Our response must be one of humility and compassion, not condemnation. There but for the grace of God go I…..
Sin is not so much about moral misbehaviour as about lazy thinking – opting out of thinking for ourselves. The first sin was not Eve eating the apple, its was Eve letting the snake tell her what to think! This is how we fritter away our destiny.
Sin contaminates our thinking, and then our actions. It allows us to switch off our critical capacity. Naturally, our thinking is conditioned by our family and cultural background. It cannot be sinful to think as we have been taught, rather the sin is to refuse insights which are given to us, which would keep us honest.
It gets into anxious communities and nations (See Tuesday for more on anxiety). When anxious we tend to collude with and appease the powerful. We suspend our ability to judge right and wrong. A kind of ‘common sense’ prevails which may be highly dysfunctional. Notoriously this was seen in Nazi Germany.
As an example in the UK- mother and baby homes used to exist for young women who became pregnant out of wedlock – often they were women in service, made pregnant by the gentleman of the house. Superindendents at the time, assessing such cases, found the women to be irredeemably ‘morally defective’. Guilt was presumed to rest with the least powerful partner whilst the powerful ‘gentleman’ remained unaccountable for his actions. These Superintendents were (perhaps unknowingly) colluding with the powerful and oppressing the poor.
The response of Jesus, unlike that of social or revolutionary movements, is not to overthrow the rich but to transform them.
We talked about wealth and poverty. Why are the poor, poor? The problems of affluence. Why the gospel only makes sense when read from to place of vulnerability. What are our hopes for the rich? How can rich and poor all experience life in its abundance?
Much of this is discussed in Ann Morisy’s book. I’m thinking of buying a copy from the bookstall…
On a sillier note, the evening hijinx included round 2 of the ‘I’m a Christian get me out of here’ contest in which our remaining three pairs of volunteers created new hairstyles using ‘silly string’. Another pair were ‘evicted’ by popular vote.