Sin- A Crime Against Us

Some of my friends are discussing the concept of evil (http://www.davedack.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12). I wanted to chime in on my blog, especially since I have been busy and not able to write. Here is a quote from Len Sweet in his book Out of the Question, Into the Mystery. "Sin is not primarily rebellion against God's laws or an assault on moral principles. Sin is an offense because it violates our relationship with God" (page 54).
I seem to resonate with this in my own soul. Relationship is the key. Shalom has been broken. Sweet goes on to say, "Being obedient is not the same as being right or moral." The reason for this is that there is a wide chasm between "superficial obedience and a substantive relationship." What do you all think?


A Socially Desirable Christianity

My title comes from Flannery O'Connor. Her writings always stood against such a Christianity that had been taken captive by the values of the southern American society. Indeed, often I feel like O'Connor. I look around and see how the church has been taken captive by consumerism, narcissism, apathy towards the human condition and pain, and a church that does not seek to heal the divisions, hates, prejudices, etc. that exist in our day. Instead, it often stands idly by and often supports this culture and at times is in the driver seat of creating such a consumeristic culture.
I do not want a socially desirable Christianity. Often many in the church will look at the problems in our society and say, "They need Jesus." I think the true problem is that we, the Christian community, needs Jesus (his ideas, his ways, his compassion, his way of standing up to the religious culture of his day that did nothing to heal people and be with people).


My View of Scripture

St. Jerome made the following statement: "Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." According to history, he hated men and women alike. He was a little hard to handle, and yet this guy translated the OT from Hebrew into Latin.
His statement is interesting in that during his time believers did not have the written scriptures on a mass level. The scriptures were in the hands of the clergy.
Although I agree with Jerome on some levels with his statement, I know that many Christians around the world who do not have the scriptures in their entirety know Him from the little they have heard and keep stored in their hearts. Indeed, each verse has more meaning than the universe itself can contain. It is this text that forms us as individuals and as a community, and shapes the world. It etches away slowly most of the time, and yet at times like lightning.


False Certitude

Kathleen Norris, the author of the book Dakota and The Cloister Walk, writes the following on a bookmark that accompanies one of her books:
To make the poem of our faith, we must learn not to settle for a false certitude
but to embrace ambiquity and mystery.
We are all on a journey of faith. It is a messy and dirty journey. Just when we think we have it figured out, we are thrown for a loop. I am 25. I hope that my faith looks very different when I am 40 and when I am 80. The first principle of theology proper is that God is an infinite, eternal, and mysterious God. Yet, we often throw out this first principle and then begin to define and box and describe things in our finite language. The problem is not in using finite statements, but thinking that these statements actually encompass the whole of Truth. Our certitude represents our arrogance. Our ambiguity lets us know that "we haven't arrived yet!"