Two things that I wanted to follow up on – one brought up by Wanda on Facebook and one brought up by Joe on the blog. Luke gets my comment of the week.
Wanda asked if there was a difference between being born sinful and being born full of sin. That is an interesting question. It caused be to think. I responded by saying being born sinners is Status. Being born full of sin is Substance.
What I am suggesting is the we are born into families that have broken relationships, and that we are born with the ability (and propensity) to foul things up all on our own!
I once heard Brian McLaren say (this my memory and not a direct quote) if you mean by original sin that humans don’t need any help figuring out how to mess things up and to be selfish… then yes I believe in it. But if you mean something at the cellular level or that means babies who die are going to hell… then no.
That might be a good way to say that.
Joe brought up a scenario about prayer – “A recent acquaintance requested a group of people to pray for his friend who had sent suicidal text messages to his wife and kid. So we did. There’s a relational connection there, but it’s a couple of degrees separate. There wasn’t anything we could do OTHER than pray… By the way, the news was good, they got to him in time.”
Let me put forward a definite theory and tell me what you think:
If we were having a small group meeting or a night of prayer and Joe said “God told me that we need to pray for Mike he is planning to commit suicide.” We would pray for Mike. But how would we know if it worked? Would we just end the meeting and think ‘we did what we could – we did what God wanted us to do’? But what if Joe said “God told me that it worked and Mike is going to be fine.” Then we go home having detected and resolved a conflict without having any contact with ‘Mike’?
Now you may choose to concentrate on Joe’s quality of discernment or his track record. But what I am saying is that though those scenarios may be fantastic and exceptional – I actually think that it is not how prayer is designed and it is not how God wants work. Some people may be called to that kind of intercession. I just think that it is not and should not be the normative mode of prayer for the majority of believers. I think that we should pray for people that we know.
I am actually saying that God wants to work through relationship and wants us to pray for people that we know (even our enemies as Luke pointed out). Maybe it is just me – but I do not want to go prayer meetings where people are pulling things out of thin air where there can then be no verification or validation. I want to go to a prayer meeting where we pray for people that we know by name and then go love them in tangible ways.
Luke had the comment of the week! “I feel like the traditional idea of Original Sin views sin as kind of a cosmic STD. I think the idea of sin as primarily broken relationship is much better, and much more in line with the biblical narrative.”
That got me thinking: we do talk about Sin as an STD – a Spiritually Transmitted Disease! That is why you have to be so careful about who you interact with – and once you get an STD… it can be tough to get rid of and cause a lot of damage to your health and be passed onto others… Wow. Scary.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend not matter what the weather is like where you live. I am researching a major project on the topic of the history of Practical Theology.
Let’s keep the conversation going! I will put up the new Podcast on Tuesday entitled “Jesus is not Violent” .