Re: What is sin?

Question 7: What is sin?

It’s been awhile since I first posted the “What is sin” question – but I still want to finish off this blog series. I think my main beef with sin is that so often it is thought to mean only personal, individual “bad things” that people do. Sin is so much more than that. A few years ago, I wrote an exegesis paper on Isaiah 1.14-23 entitled “A Theology of Sin: Arguing For a More Social/Communal Understanding of Sin in America” (this was when I was in my “Long Paper Titles Will Get the Best Grade”-phase). You can find the paper here, if you are interested. In that paper, through my exegetical work, I argued that personal piety meant nothing to God as long as there existed rampant social sin. When we think of sin, it is important to realize that sin includes much more than just bad things individuals do. It includes the social, systemic sins. It includes the structures that are in place in the world that cause oppression, injustice and so much more. I think this is what some of you were getting to in your comments.

This is not to negate the fact that there is often a personal or individual aspect to sin. Gustavo Gutierrez, liberation theologian, wrote the following:

“…sin is not considered as an individual, private, or merely interior reality…sin is regarded as a social, historical fact., the absence of brotherhood and love in relationships among men…When it is considered in this way, the collective dimensions of sin are rediscovered.”

Any good theology of sin will include both the individual and the corporate idea of sin; to focus solely on the individual is to avoid obvious social evils and forces of tyranny and oppression and to focus solely on the social aspect is to lose any type of human culpability and responsibility for the evil that is taking place, often times in social institutions because of individuals. Many times this occurs because of humanity’s desire to stop looking outside of themselves: “Man is tempted to make himself existentially the center of himself and his world.” ((Tillich, Systematic Theology II)) Tillich does a good job of recognizing the similarities and links between both the individual and the social and more universal aspects of sin: “Sin is a universal fact before it becomes an individual act, or more precisely, sin as an individual act actualizes the universal fact of estrangement.” ((Tillich, Systematic Theology II))

So, what is sin? Sin is individual and social, personal and communal. Sin is that which gets in the way of the work of God’s Kingdom on Earth – whether it be individual and personal issues or social and communal ones.

Mint: Free Money Management Software

A couple months ago, I blogged about the Cleaker’s money woes. Well, I’m happy to write again, two months later, letting you know that we have figured out all of our issues!

Well, not really. But I have been playing with a really hot web application for money management: Mint. I just logged in, and I can see our joint checking and savings accounts, my Cleave Design checking and savings accounts and our Discover and Alaska Airlines credit cards all in one place. If we had other accounts to add in, we could still add them as well. From there I can get an Overview of my funds (or lack thereof), track my spending habits and investigate different ways to save money. I’m kind of a sucker for smooth interfaces, and has a beautiful one.

Mint is great because it offers:

  • A little financial organization.
  • Insight into where your money goes, across all accounts.
  • Email & SMS bill reminders and alerts.
  • Personalized savings suggestions averaging over $1,000 during our beta.
  • Since Mint is free, and only takes a few minutes to setup, why not pass along a good financial tip?

I’ve enjoyed it and found it to be helpful – and perhaps you will too!

Mark Driscoll, this Wink’s for you.

I promise this won’t turn into another Mark Driscoll rant – if you want something like that, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t find something like that on this site. I ran across a link to a new podcast of Mark Driscoll on Bob’s blog – I don’t agree with much of his analysis. Driscoll is speaking at the Convergent Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and you can listen to the podcast here. You can skip the first 14 min or so – it’s just Driscoll telling about his upbringing. Around minute 14 or 15 is when he begins to start criticizing people, specifically Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt and Rob Bell (really? Rob Bell?). Apparently, the battle has begun (again) and it’s time to take up your battle positions. While there is so much more I want to say, I’ve said it before. So – Mark Driscoll, “this wink’s for you.” I like to think of it as an “Aww, isn’t that cute”-wink. And I’m not the only one – many are giving Driscoll the wink.

For those of you who don’t want to listen to the entire 80+ minute lecture, here are some ridiculous snippets from it:

  • I don’t mind a conversation…but when God speaks, we are not to converse, we are to obey.
  • Brian McLaren was asked this question: ‘What is your position on gay marriage?’ His answer was this: ‘You know what? The thing that breaks my heart is that there is no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.’ To which I would respond: ‘Now you have hurt God.’
  • The Southern Baptist Convention of North Carolina is bringing him [Doug Pagitt] to teach in October. Shame on you.
  • If Rabbis don’t love Jesus, they have a bad hermeneutic.
  • The Bible is all about Jesus. Ultimately, it’s all…about…Jesus.
  • Brian McLaren also has a new organization called “Deep Shift” and I think somebody inadvertently put an “F” in there.
  • I believe Emergent is, like Judas, in the process of hanging itself.
  • And all the nonsense of emerging, and Emergent, and new monastic communities, and, you know, all of these various kinds of ridiculous conversations — I’ll tell you as one on the inside, they don’t have converts. The silly little myth, the naked emperor is this: they will tell you it’s all about being in culture to reach lost people, and they’re not.

So Mark Driscoll – you just keep on doing your thing. This wink’s for you.

UPDATE: Join the *Wink Revolution* – here are some winkers: Doug, Tony, Mike, Marissa, Gavin, Josh, Will, Jay, Kyle, Andrew, Brother Maynard Josh, Blake, Joe, Nick and Kay. Some are giving peace signs: Scott and Steve.