The Nature of Sin

I want to talk today about one of my favorite stories from the bible. If you have spent even a minimal amount of time in church, you’ve heard this story. It’s right up there with Moses parting the Red Sea and Daniel in the lion’s den. It’s the story of Adam and Eve, but more specifically the six verses that talk about original sin and the effect it had on mankind as a whole.

I want to look at it from a different perspective than you’ve probably heard because I think the story itself lends great insights into the nature of sin and what it means to actually sin. Much of the church talks about sin as if it’s just a list of rules that God writes down and then just commands us not to do. Very few churches or preachers give any serious guidance on WHY it’s considered wrong to sin and, because of it, I think it’s turned people away from the church.

I tend to think the stories in the book of Genesis are more on the level of myths that were handed down from generation to generation and that they aren’t exactly historical stories of things that actually happened. However, I would like to point out that it doesn’t necessarily matter if you believe in that one way or the other. The importance of the story isn’t whether it actually happened or not. The importance of the story is the lessons that it means to teach us. And that’s what I want to focus on today. Continue reading “The Nature of Sin”

Use it for Good

When I was about 14 years old, I went to church camp. Back in those days, I was a pretty hardcore christian kid. I went to church three times a week. I fasted when the adults of the church fasted. I prayed three times a day. I read the bible from cover to cover three times over the course of about five years. I studied. I even tried to learn Greek at one point thinking that I’d like to read the bible in the language it was written. So, while I had fun and enjoyed all the fun things church camp had to offer, I was also there to seek God and figure out his will for my life.

I was also popular with the younger kids, and they would crowd around me because they looked up to me and I gave them attention. One day at camp, I was sitting in the chairs and a bunch of the younger kids were sitting next to me in our little group. The message the preacher preached was about Saul and how he “stood head and shoulders above the crowd.” It was a message about God’s calling for your life and how God used Saul in the beginning. I looked around and noticed that I, too, was standing head and shoulders above everyone around me because I was surrounded by kids. I took this to mean that God had called me to preach.

I remember as I was returning home with my parents, I told them that I felt like God had called me to preach. I said that I wanted to go to bible school and to become a preacher. And I’ll never forget what they said to me. I was actually a little surprised. They said to pray about it and to think about it, and that I shouldn’t put off going to actual college to go to bible school because I needed a way to provide for myself and my family. I mean, at the time, I wondered why they would say something like that. Isn’t the standard answer to your child saying he wants to be a preacher an emphatic “heck yes”? What sort of parents would actually tell their child to hold off on being a preacher until you go do something that’s going to make you money? Continue reading “Use it for Good”

Beautiful in its Time

I want to touch on a topic that I think all of us has entertained at one point or another. Well, all of us who are over the age of 25 or 30 anyway. Not that younger people don’t think about this, but there is a very clear moment that happens as you approach the middle of your life that you begin to think about the deeper things of life. A young person just starting out their life may not be focusing on what happens at the end of it. If you’re a young person reading this, I apologize if my generalization is wrong. I’m just saying that the weight of these things doesn’t truly hit you until you reach your mid 30’s.

I was curious tonight. It had been a while since I read the book of Ecclesiastes. When I finished my last article, I felt that I wanted to talk about depression in my next one. I asked myself what scriptures in the bible deal with depression, and the first thing that came to me was this book. This, quite literally, is the most depressing book of the bible. It was written by King Solomon in his old age. Yes, the guy who gave us the wisdom of Proverbs, built the temple, and basically put Israel on the map, looked back over his life in his old age and uttered the words “life is meaningless.” Continue reading “Beautiful in its Time”