Tuesday, January 07, 2014

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You know what really grinds Andrew Brown’s gears?  People who claim that the Church of England has basically abandoned the whole idea of sin:

I was brought up with the Book of Common Prayer, and it still makes perfect sense to me, in so far as anything theological can. I don’t doubt the reality of sin and evil, nor its presence in me. I can even sometimes see evil as an active, purposive force in the world, which is as close as anyone needs to come to understand the devil. It makes perfect intuitive and experiential sense to think that we need grace to behave well – grace at least in the sense of something quite outside the structures of our daily egotism.

No argument there.  Drop sin and the Christian religion, heck, all religion, would be a waste of time.

This can’t include a loss of sin. Christianity without a serious consciousness of sin is as shallow and as little likely to last as contemporary American evangelicalism.

Insert Episcopal Organization/Anglican Organization of Canada/Church of England joke here.  Granted, when Andy refers to sin, he’s most definitely not referring to rebelling against the will of your heavenly Father.

What will have to go is, rather, the notion of a father God and of sin as something displeasing to that just patriarch.

Because that’s bad.

This notion now seems not simply incredible but actively immoral.

What does Andy mean by sin then?  This.

But if sin were understood, not as a rebellion against some God in heaven but as a painful movement against the wounding splinter of light in our hearts, then it might seem real. It might even seem something that you’d want to protect your children against.

“A painful movement against the wounding splinter of light in our hearts?”  Really, Andy?  That’s sin?  Two questions.  In the name of all that is beautiful and holy, what does that even mean?  And why should I or anybody else get up early on one of our days off and perform arcane ceremonies in order to deal with it?

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