Sin as Frank Sinatra Syndrome

One of the most common songs played at funerals is Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way”. In many ways, that aptly summarizes the nature of sin. Sin represents the displacement of God and the deification of self. Humans defy their Creator, shake their puny little fists at the heavens, usurp the prerogatives of deity, act with impunity, and demand immunity from consequences. Their musical motif is, “I Did it My Way,” meaning that their moral reasoning and tier of values demands to exist over and above what God values. Recently, Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, made some similar comments in the SMH. Of course, the other popular song played at funerals is AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” While meant ironically and even blasphemously, in many ways, is more appropriate!

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  • Allen Browne

    “I did it my way” is certainly a catchcry of Western
    individualism, submitting to no one (including God).

    Conversely, the atomised individualism of our worldview also
    skews our understanding of sin. In the NT, sin rarely refers to an item on a list of an
    individual’s misdemeanours. ἁμαρτωλός (sinner)
    occurs 47 times. Only 15 of those are singular: the focus is more on the human
    state than the individual.

    33 of the 47 occurrences are in the gospels, and in most of
    those I think the word should be in quotes. It’s a term of insult that the religious
    use to exclude those who don’t meet their standard. When Jesus does use the
    word, it’s usually as a retort (or at least in picking up the insulting language of the

    For example, in Mt 9:11-13, the Pharisees see it as their
    job to call people to do better, so that YHWH’s favour may return. So they call
    Jesus to task for breaking the wisdom tradition, sitting with sinners. They
    want to pull back from sinners, literally to ‘sacrifice’ sinners so Israel can
    have God’s forgiveness, the return from exile.

    how to I change my theology from labelling people in ways that rejects and
    insults them, to learn the kind of inclusive mercy Jesus lived?

  • Coleen Toews

    Sinatra did not write thr lyrics to My Way. Paul Anka did and Sinatra recorded it as a favor to him. Sinatra himself despised the lyrics and eventually said so. In Sinatra’s words the lyrics were “too self-aggrandizing” . Why do so many Christians get their facts wrong?? I am a Christian, and I hope and pray the best for people. I hope that Frank Sinatra is now in heaven. You have no right to publicly attack someone as “sinful” when you do not know them personally and do not know their heart.