It is hard for non-believers to understand just why Christians are always so concerned with the idea of sin. Simeon Zahl, in an essay reprinted in Mockingbird (“Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin”) explains why, and why this is significant.
When I try to explain [to my students] that Christians have traditionally believed that human beings are deeply flawed from birth, and furthermore that God is profoundly unhappy about these flaws, I watch my students’ eyes grow skeptical. I watch their postures shift the way students always do when they disagree with what you are telling them. . . .
* * *
My point is this: in the edifice of Christian belief, the doctrine of sin is a major load-bearing structure. It is not theologically optional. To lose it, or to downplay it, or to reframe it in terms that are less offensive to our sense of self-worth, is in the long run to render Christianity unintelligible to people.
This reminds me of C.S. Lewis, who made much the same point in his essay “God in the Dock”:
The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin . . . . We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy.
God in the Dock, 243–4 (1970).
Zahl goes on to offer some ways of thinking about sin which may communicate the truth about sin to modern people (like each of us) who have been trained to think in very different terms. He ends by saying:
It is only in our sickness that we recognize the Physician. It is our sin that makes Christ intelligible to us.
Worth the time.
Today, we remember that two years ago, PHD passed into the rest which was prepared for him by his Lord. [link]
We are grateful.
Sevy was amped last night, but kept himself under control for the most part. Good to get a dangerous Oakland team out of the way at home. A .pdf of the scorecard:
20181003 Wild card scorecard Yankees
20181003 Wild card scorecard Athletics
The reward is to now play the best team in baseball. Should be fun.
Here’s a blank scorecard for the ALDS: Scorecard 2018 ALDS
For the Yankees, it has been a long season to get back to October. Despite the injuries, it has been fun with a fresh crop of rookies (Gleyber, Miguel, and Luke).
We will see how it goes.
We need twelve wins.
Here is your AL wildcard scorecard pdf: Scorecard 2018 wildcard
SW writes about our mistaken desire for permanence in this world, when it is really another country for which we long:
I loved, more than anything, and without knowing it, permanence. My six year old heart wanted to live forever. Twenty years later, it still does.
Sarah Willard, “In Ruins,” Blind Mule Blog (Oct. 2, 2018) [link].
CG reminds us that in the end it is impossible for us to overstate God’s love or to rationalize it:
We have such a hard time accepting that God’s love truly reaches out to all people, even the people we hate or disagree with, and even (especially?) to we ourselves. We insist on qualifying grace, which necessarily renders that grace null and void. We worry that if people start to believe that grace is true in all cases and that God loves people with reckless abandon all hell will break loose.
Connor Gwin, “Qualifying the Reckless Love of God,” Mockingbird (Sept. 24, 2018) [link].
The grace is in what Christ said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” He didn’t want us to be shocked or discouraged at the inevitable, unavoidable suffering we would experience.
Josh Retterer, “A Long Obedience in the Wrong Direction, ” Mockingbird (Aug. 30, 2018) [link].
Two recent book reviews I have written:
Book Review: Kevin Davis, The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America’s Courtrooms (Penguin Press 2017) in The Champion (June 2018) [link].
Book Review: Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro, eds., Telling the Stories Right: Wendell Berry’s Imagination of Port William (Front Porch Republic 2018) in The Englewood Review of Books (Sept. 20, 2018) [link].
Always nice to get an interesting book for free, even if you need to do a little work for it.
I love this. Randall Munroe, “Curve-Fitting,” xkcd (Sept. 19, 2018) [link].
@Air4Cole @Jaguars #jumpmancole #DUUUVAL
Henceforth to be known as going “Full Cole.”
“It was not that they were looking for meaning, this man and woman on the hilltop in the early morning. They were too tired for that. But it rose like the sun among us, shadowed and slow, revealing a day we did not wish to see. In waiting, in sleepless nights, in labor, in fears, in blood, in tears, in a grave, in the gospel of the brokenhearted, in the life of the world to come, in a moment, our labor is not in vain . . . .” Sarah Willard, “Talitha Cumi,” Blind Mule Blog (Sept. 11, 2018) [link].
Elissa Ely, “From Bipolar Darkness, the Empathy to be a Doctor,” New York Times (Mar. 16, 2009) [link]; see also Alan Jacobs, “Rene Giraud, please call your office,” Snakes & Ladders (August 29, 2018) [link].