"Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think."
-Michel de Montaigne

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sin and Honesty in the Christian Church

Confession: I am a big, fat, dirty sinner. No, really. NO. Seriously.

I get that I wear cardigans and am going to school to be a Librarian. You're probably thinking: anyone who wears khaki and ballet flats and plans a career pushing books can't be that wild, right? Wrong.

The truth is that I sin on the daily. On the hourly. Moreover, I have one or two choice sins that perpetually get in my face. They're more annoying than SEC fans in September. Though you'd never know because they aren't visible like drug abuse or alcoholism.

Confession no. 2: I love God, and I don't want to be this way.

I know that this conversation about sin seems really stupid, antiquated, and/or probably just "too precious" for my friends/relatives/associates who are not Christians.

They are rolling their eyes right now, saying, "For the love of, here she goes again throwing herself under the bus because she said the 'F' word once or something equally as innocuous." But it's not just about having a filthy mouth. It's about having your eyes opened to something true, and not being able to go back. It's passing through the wardrobe and into Narnia. It's Neo after the blue pill. It's Columbus catching his first glance of Hispanola.

Sin is death. I've heard this my entire life, and it meant nothing. We hear about gravity as children, and scoff when our parents talk about jumping from bridges to follow others, but when a plane begins to nose-dive and shake uncontrollably mid-flight we finally understand that our bodies and collective wisdom have no bearing on the force hurling us to the ground.

It was only after I understood that sin is not only real, but here for a very real purpose that I was even able to care about my actions. This thing called conscience, was the Holy Spirit pulling at my heart quietly. Those who are not Christians feel it intuitively, but call it moral order.

Confession no. 3: I believe the Christian church (at least in America) is failing miserably to discuss this issue of sin.

It seems like our goal is to get people cleaned up, dunked in the baptism tank, and send them along their merry way. We talk about sin as an abstract concept, a cancer that affects us all. We get them to accept that they have the cancer, and that Jesus is the cure for it. But we never talk about what type of cancer it is; how it moves, grows, how it changes, how we can prevent it. Not really. That conversation is too graphic, not family-friendly, too raw, glorifying of secular behaviors. I think this is a cop-out.

If we as Christians want to change the world, we can't be afraid to talk about it. Honestly. Brutally. We can't be afraid to cut into the cadaver and look at the tumor, spreading. We can't be afraid to put it under a microscope and share our findings with others. We can't be ashamed to show the ugly surgical scars on our own bodies.

Confession no. 4: I'm really tired of oatmeal evangelism. Give me truth.


  1. I couldn't agree more. The main problem that I think Christianity has is that it has tried to hide and shelter itself from the world in an attempt to set itself apart and be not lead into temptation. However, what Christians forget so vehemently is that we are born into sin and temptation. We cannot escape it even in darkness and silence and loneliness. It exists to the very core of our souls and to the very forefront of our minds. The notion in rational unafraid people like myself (and obviously you) is that we should bare all Cafe Risque style and let God show us the way beyond that point, as you have so pointed out. In all honesty though, I'd just be happy to hear Christians escape antiquity and the mire of tradition by saying "We're sorry we were wrong about a few things, but we're working on it". Most of the Christians I've ever met are racists, abusive, wanton, foul-mouthed, judgmental, non-chalant egotists with no intent of changing, rather they just use the word God as a shield for their actions and never outwardly confront their own wickedness or show any remorse or shame for themselves. Christians need a huge wake up call, and since God has obviously left it up to His servants, then we just have to work harder.

  2. Grant, I get so frustrated with the propensity that some (not all) Christian communities have with avoiding the obvious. No one that I've encountered in the Christian church will deny that s/he is a sinner, but to talk about what ails us is somehow too much? To my recollection, the Bible does just that--it names pretty much EVERY conceivable sin, and in a way that does not glorify it. That's all I'm asking. I think more Christians than not are ready for this kind of radical ministry. Not radical in a Fox News kinda way, but radical like in the anti-establishment New Testament kinda way. Especially as evidenced by org's like QIdeas, and writers like Francis Chan/Gabe Lyons. Anyway--be blessed!