Why it’s good to remember our sins

Remembering our Sins

Over the course of several books, crime novelist Philip Davison gave life to his character Harry Fielding, an operative in British intelligence tasked with undesirable jobs. A small train of colorful characters orbit through Harry's universe, including his flamboyant aunt Kate.At one point in the final Fielding outing, A Burnable Town, Kate wants her nephew to go to church."Oh God," Harry exclaims. "I don't have to contemplate my sin, do I, Kate?"She answered with "a very … [Read more...]

Cormac McCarthy and all the broken children of God

Spend any time reading the news, driving the interstates, or peering into the recesses of your own heart, and it’s clear that people are messed up.After hearing dusty tales of “a bunch of lowlife thieves and cowards and murderers,” a young man asks an old timer if people were meaner in the past than the present. “No,” says he answers, “I don’t. I think people are the same from the day God first made one.”The exchange is from Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, which is about a man named Leste … [Read more...]

Why are there dirty stories in the Bible?

Anyone who's read the Bible to children or come at it with some naivety knows it contains many tricky passages. Cough. Judah and Tamar. Cough. A reader who's spent any time in the text has his or her own list of stories that are risqué, possibly even revolting. Why would the holy authors include these stories in the Bible?Writing one of the very first Christian commentaries on Scripture, Hippolytus of Rome answered the question this way:As the divine writings are not respecters of … [Read more...]

Disillusioned by the church

Broken Stained Glass

I recently had an exchange in which someone mentioned leaving the church. Who hasn't? He quit participating some time back, and he's not alone.There are any number of reasons people walk out and don't return. There are those who wake up one day and decide the whole enterprise is false. But most seem to leave because the church has failed to measure up in some way. They leave because they are disillusioned.You know the triggers: Community life is lacking. A fellow parishioner said … [Read more...]

It’s the little sins that kill you

Little Fox

Judas Iscariot didn't begin with betrayal in mind, and David didn't intend adultery and murder. But then one day they sat alone, their minds consumed with guilt and recrimination, the deeds done.How? Judas was one of the twelve. David was a man after God's own heart. What went wrong? The question is important if we want to avoid our own personal and spiritual disasters.One thing I know: It's not the exotic sins that get us. We're mastered by the moral failures we've already made mundane … [Read more...]

Fighting Downton Abbey passions

Matthew and Mary

At the dawn of the surprise-hit series Downton Abbey Mary Crawley has a momentary and tragic fling with a guest staying at her family's estate. Opportunity presents in the form of the dashing Turkish envoy, Kemal Pamuk. Lust prevails, and her moral failure and the threat of its scandalous exposure form a good bit of the dramatic pulse that drives the story forward … [Read more...]

Make room for suffering

make room for suffering

There is a strain of Christianity that promises material blessing as a sign of God's favor: cars, homes, bank accounts, etc. Given the economic downturn over the last few years, this strain should strain all credibility. Did God decide to withhold 30 to 40 percent of his favor across whole neighborhoods as their housing values plummeted? … [Read more...]


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