Sin

Original sin

Original sin

I’ve been quiet for over a week now. I’m on vacation and so generally just messing about, jogging and a little bit of marking.  Mostly I have been thinking about holy week. I didn’t get to any services as somehow I got disconnected from what was going on in my church. But not to worry as I have been following my own vein of theological thinking. Basically I have been thinking about sin and salvation. Tis the season of course for such areas of consideration with today, Easter day, being the pinnacle of the christian celebration since Ash wednesday.

So, sin. What is sin?  Thats my major question.  My old answer used to be ‘anything that separates us from God and that hinders our relationship with Him’. Pretty neat I thought. Got that one wrapped up, right? Wrong. Its part of the answer but not the whole story. Now, before I continue, I must say that I still dont have a reasonably complete answer.  I’ve tried reading through some intro’s to christianity but the understadning is just not happening.  I keep coming against several thoughts. The first one is Original sin. The second one is inherited sin. The first one, original sin is from Adam and Eve disobeying God by eating from the forbidden tree. In doing so they doom humankind for all eternity. The second one, inherited sin, is more complicated.  Its kinda like the sins of each generation get passed on down the line which is why society is full of greed, selfishness and generally screwing over anything and anyone to get on in life.  I might have those two points mixed up wrong. There’s also a view of sin being estrangement from God and also another view of sin being a necessary stage in evolution but I don’t understand them so won’t write them here. Google them.

I think you can see why I don’t ‘get’ both of the these. Or perhaps not. Perhaps its because they are both so black and white, cut n dried. They probably both have shades of truth though.  Yet behind these points there is one major truth that has be accepted before these two points are even considered. This major point is simple really(!). You have to accept there is a God.  A God who wants to be in relationship with us. Who loves us first without us doing anything for Him. He needs no favours, no correct incantation, no symbols, no order of service, no background history research. He’s there, patiently loving us, waiting.

So, ok, you accept there is a God but uh oh, now you have to deal with this sin thing. Did you realise your a sinnner. What the blazes does this old fashion word mean?!  I think sin means more than doing bad things that upset God. Cos, how do we know?  Apparently the greek word for sin is ‘hamartia’ which means ‘failing to hit the target’. So we fail because we fail to hit the target of living in the fullness of life God created us for.  Thus we end up hurting ourselves, each other and this beautiful planet we live on.  We hurt out of fear, self-centeredness, egotism and selfsih love. (yes I know I got two of the same ideas in that sentence). Basically, through our own inadeqacies, failures and lack of self accountancy, we twist love into an ugly, life sapping entity.  We may set out to do good. Perhaps each day we try to give back to our communities in some gesture but who really benefits from that? Is that sustainable day in day out, year in year out? Perhaps for a few people who can discipline their energies….. Is the intention of the act of kindness 100% unconditional?  I’m just throwing ideas out here.

Anyway, in the chistian faith we have this guy called Jesus. Who is both God and man.  So God himself came to meet us humans, freely gave of himself (to death) because this ‘sin’ is so important that accountability had to be taken. It couldn’t be swept aside. God wants so much to be inrelationship with us that He himself had to heal the rift. He made a way for us to know His love and be able to love Him back. The way being through Jesus. That, my friend, is why we celebrate Easter.

😀

(this is not a definitive answer, I think I will take years to work it out!)

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The Lull

Time to pause

Time to pause

I want each blog I write to be meaningful and so that prevents me from writing anything at times.  Then I realised that even apparent nothingness has meaning.  You see, after the amazing moments of spiritual intensity of the past few weeks, there is now the lull.  There always tends to be a lull, a pause. Its kinda like the spirit resting with whats its been given. To hold it, merge with it and perhaps just grow from the nourishment.

Of course, after a period of intensity , its easy to panic that God is no longer talking or listening. Such is our human modern need to be constantly filled with new things.  Yet lull is natural. Everything does it. A time to just stop and be.  I find it with my weight loss.  I can loose several pounds for several weeks and then the body just stops as if it needs time to adjust to the dramatic change.

So, let our souls and spirits adjust to the growing divine spark living inside us. Take a breath. Be still. Smile quietly.

🙂

Listening to God

Moby Dick

Moby Dick

All last week I have awoken at 4am for no apparent reason which has been quite annoying really especially when I wear ear plugs and have a completley blacked out room. A friend of mine (after saying I should know better) thought God was trying to tell me something aka Samuel stylee.  I didn’t think this was the case and besides, God speaks to me in other ways but not directly. Plus I am fairly sure She wouldn’t want to tick me off by depriving me of sleep.

Yesterday, in a completly seemingly unrelated incident, and for no apparent reason, I decided to ask a daft question to one of the US’s most popular evanglicals Frank Viola. Frank in his tweets said  “God’s people are in a spiritual warfare, but many of them r too busy shooting at their fellow soldiers to fight the real enemy.”.. so I tweeted back “There’s an enemy? Description required please?”  A bit childish I know but I do dislike this thought about evil being personified.  Anyhoo, Frank actually replied with “see Ephesians 6”. Which is Paul going on about putting on the armour of God to empower ourselves again the enemy. Sounds very warlike don’t you think? Not very love , kindness and peace of Christ kinda thing eh?!.   So after being Gob smacked he actually replied I went off to sleep muttering something stereotypical about americans needing their enemies, and trying to remember the title of the story about the hunter and the whale.

So in a dream I heard myself saying “You mean Jonah and the Whale”. The word Jonah was said several times until I finally woke myself up at 5am (which was 4am in pre BST) with the words “NO I MEAN Moby Dick!”  Satisified I had finally answered my initial problem about what the title of the book was, I went back to sleep.
The surprise moment of syncronicty happened when I woke up properly to get ready for work. I checked my emails on my ipod and there was the daily bible reading email from The Word Live.  The Bible reading for today was Jonah 1:1-17 titled ‘Dont run away, Pray’.  Which startled me still as I had been thinking of whether I should stay in the C of E.

Then later in the day someone else emailed me and said “Stick with the CofE as they need you” and they knew nothing of my Jonah moment.!

Jonah and the Whale

Jonah and the Whale

So, in the story of Jonah, this guy hears God and runs away in fear. He ends up being swallowed by a whale and in the stomach is transformed.  I guess there’s hope for me yet! I’ll just avoid the sea for a few months….
Oh and perhaps God really was trying to tell me something at 4am in the morning. I hope He’s done now!

I Am

I’ve been chewing over the idea behind “I Am”, in  particular Mark 12:32: “There is one God; and there is none other but he”.  I had a flash of inspiration about what this could mean. It came to me that there is just One God because all human ideas of God are actually the same God.  So the ‘other’ gods are not separate to God. People are actually talking to the I Am in a way they can relate to.  The I Am is limitless, is All , is everything, the great zero.  And we are part of that limitless, the I Am.  There are no divisions, no duality.

In my concern that is thought is not wholly Christian thinking I asked the opinion of a Christian friend who wrote

“I think what you are saying is very important Christian teaching: Jesus is the love who disappears so all ways of seeing God can be – as long as they are love – if not love they are not God.  Jesus is so much greater than the narrow boxes some Christians create, I think.”

Love is the key, the intent that binds the All together.  I should use that word more often.

Moths, pilgrims and synchronicity

Tiny moth

Tiny moth

I have been thinking once again about why on I’m on this path of trying to become a priest in the C of E.  I don’t no whether this is a self checking mechanism or just lack of confidence self induced paranoia.  So I found myself asking God for confirmation of my calling before I held the Alive at five service last sunday 6th March.  Then during the service completely forgot about me and my worries and just got on with it.  On the drive home however, I began thinking through the event reflecting on what went well and not so well.  I then began to feel an enormous sense of satisfaction of ease and normality.  Sadness too as this service is my only outlet of actively doing something.  With a smile, I realised that in these floaty thoughts and feelings was God confirming yet again the path I am on.  My peace returned.

One of the hymns I chose was Bunyans Pilgrim Song which had been popping into my head the best part of the week before.  To my delight and inner smile, the song was chosen again by the priest leading the  following Ash Wednesday service.  I guess my friend may thought me a bit mad when a gave out a little chuckle as the hymn was announced. So perhaps that’s me, “He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy follow the Master.”  I just remembered the previous service I lead was very nearly a disaster too as nothing went right.  There again perhaps it did as my impassioned talk about ignoring God has seemed to be the point most remembered.

Another two other syn-chronic things happened during the ash service.  I have been indulging in my pagan side through listening to pagan music and reading a fantastic book by pagan T. Thorn Coyle, titled Kissing the Limitless. She writes about learning to love all out parts, honouring them and bringing them together.  She speaks of the God within, God as the great All or Zero. To her there is no separation between herself and God.  I find much of what she rights correlates to Christian thinking and so I guess that’s why I am so comfortable with her work and ideas.

The synchronous part I was talking about happened during the priest’s sermon. His theme was about loving all our parts as nothing is hidden from God.  This I knew but he went on as to say that by loving all our parts we become more aware of who we are  and so the better our work with Christ becomes.  These are the same sentiments T Thorn Coyle presents in her book “kissing the limitless”.  I was gobsmacked but had an inkling something was going to happen in the service when a tiny moth flew out of my hymn book when first opened.  Moth is the name I gave myself while working in circle with pagans.

So I guess, God is telling me He’s ok with all my parts, especially the pagan part which I find much spiritual nourishment.  So if He is then so should I.  I know that God herself is the one I follow, she is my master.