“‘Both Syrian govt & rebels play Christians as political card’”
"UK investigators threaten Guardian editor with terrorism charges over Snowden’s leaks"
"There is nothing political about gun ownership"
"How States Talk Back to Washington and Strengthen American Federalism"
"Looking for fraud? Don’t look at food stamp recipients, look at Wall Street | Chris Arnade"
Anarchy, anarchist, voluntaryism, libertarian
I read a post yesterday that said that sin was a made-up problem, invented to serve the purposes of a made-up god. I commented on this post quite respectfully, and was promptly deleted off the thread. I was disappointed, I was hoping to have an open, engaging conversation but was cut off before I had even been able to fully hear the man out. I was struck however how indicative this scenario was about sin: being that ‘sin’ means to fall short, and to be cut off… I honestly believe that any rational mind would not only accept, but embrace the idea of sin as being useful and poignant, if of coarse the concept of sin were presented in the way that is true to the original context in which is was conceived. Let me begin by saying that only way to really understand the concept of sin, is to first understand Shalom.
Shalom, in its original Hebrew context, is beautiful. I heard from the rabbi once that Shalom can be best described as a blanket. Every life, human, animal, or plant is a thread in this blanket. Each life unique in this blanket with its own length and vibrant color. All of creation is this blanket, how it was orinally supposed to be, with all of our threads meticulously interwoven together to form a beautiful and intricate design. Together capable of great beauty and purpose, the blanket stronger with all the treads closely knit. Shalom, in its common use is understood to mean ‘peace be with you,’ but it is more accurate to say, ‘ let there be peace with you and harmony in the world.’
Sin, in this context, is the tearing apart of the Shalom. Through malice, greed, and self-interested apathy the blanket is ripped apart. Let me be clear that it is not just a societal separation; it is a spiritual separation of humanity and God, ecoligical of humanity and nature, and environmental of God from nature. Disease, famine, natural disasters, and death are all described in this original context as being the outflow of the result of God removing its spirit from the world because of sin. Alienation, a sense of a loss of purpose, and an insatiable desire never seems fully realized are spiritual existential symptoms of this disconnect. Sin is not a list of don’ts; the list was merely given to show humanity that the list impossible to follow. This was never intended to break the spirit of man, but rather to bring to attention that there is something broken in the spirit of humanity. Jesus said: I have not come to abolish the law; but to fulfill it.
Just as sin is impossible to understand outside the context of shalom; ‘Hell’ makes no sense outside of the definition of ‘Holy.’ The God of scripture defines itself as Holy. Holy meaning ‘The Source.’ The source of life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and community. The Source of which Shalom flows. Hell then becomes in this context, in the life both here and in the next, a state of being cut off. When the scripture says to “Be Holy as I m Holy” it is saying be a source of life, love, joy, and peace; as I am to you. Be that source to each other, to nature, to your children, as you make me your Source from which your holiness flows. Jesus reiterates “I am the vine, you are the branches, remain in me and you will bear much fruit.”
Hell is what happens when we, in our pride and excessive self-reliance, try to be that source on our own: the impetus of narcissistic behavior. Trying to make another human being this source is called being romantically co-dependant. Since we are not the source by definition, the result is that we become grace-less, demonizing of all others who don’t hold to our standards, and inevitably resign ourselves to a self-righteous prison of indignation. We begin to strip people of their inherent value when we succumb to hell, instead of seeing others as real people, they become caricatures. We entitle ourselves to any shortcomings when we live this way. In our arrogance, we wash over faults rationalizing them away, telling ourselves that they are only road bumps on the path to superior humanity. We become bitter, angry, alienating of others with whom we disagree, calloused, and ultimately alone. Hell is what happens when a single rebel tread says to the others that it can make a better, more intricate and beautiful design with just a single color. When it leaves however, the only thing that it really creates is a gash on a otherwise beautiful garment.