Saturday, October 07, 2006

The word sinner is a theological designation. It is essential to insist on this. It is not a moralistic judgement. It is not a word that places humans somewhere along a continuum ranging from angel to ape, assessing them as relatively 'good' or 'bad.' It designates humans in relation to God and sees them as separated from God. Sinner means something is awry between humans and God....

If a pastor finds himself resenting his people, getting petulant and haranguing them, that is a sign that he or she has quit thinking of them as sinners who bring "nothing in themselves of worth" and has secretly invested them with divine attributes of love, strength, compassion, and joy. They, of course, do not have these attributes in any mature measure and so will disappoint him or her every time.


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