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24 March 2005

Ooh, this is good for the end of Holy Week

From Frederick Buechner’s Wishful Thinking:  A Seeker’s ABC:


The power of sin is centrifugal.  When at
work in a human life, it tends to push everything out toward the periphery. 
Bits and pieces go flying off until only the core is left.  Eventually bits and
pieces of the core itself go flying off until in the end nothing at all is left.
“The wages of sin is death” is Saint Paul’s way of saying the same thing.

Other people and (if you happen to believe in him) God or
(if you happen not to) the World, Society, Nature– whatever you call the
greater whole of which you’re part– sin is whatever you do, or fail to do, that
pushes them away, that widens the gap between you and them and also the gaps
within your self.

For example, the sin of the Pharisee is
not just (a) his holier-than-thou attitude which pushes other people away, but
(b) his secret suspicion that his own holiness is deficient too, which pushes
part of himself away, and (c) his possibly not-so-subconscious feeling that
anybody who expects him to be all that holy must be a cosmic SOB, which pushes
Guess Who away.

Sex is sinful to the degree that, instead
of drawing you closer to other human beings in their humanness, it unites bodies
but leaves the lives inside them hungrier and more alone than before.

Religion and unreligion are both sinful to the degree
that they widen the gap between you and the people who don’t share your views.

The word charity illustrates the insidiousness of
sin.  From meaning a free and loving gift it has come to mean a
demeaning handout

“Original Sin” means we all
originate out of a sinful world which taints us from the word go.  We all tend
to make ourselves the center of the universe, pushing away centrifugally from
that center everything that seems to impede its free-wheeling.  More even than
hunger, poverty, or disease, it is what Jesus said he came to save the world

Posted in Rayleejun on 24 March 2005 at 10:06 am by Nate