by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 21, 2019

Our Lenten muse for the past few weeks has been Will Willimon’s “Sinning Like A Christian.” Willimon examines the 7 Deadly Sins of pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. Our conversation around the Family Night tables has been both comic and meaningful.

Overall, instead of focusing on individual expressions of sinful behavior, we’ve been thinking together about the communal nature of sin and the collective ways we speak about it. We’ve moved beyond the general conception of sin as inherent to humanity because sin is about more than just failure and finitude. If sin is connected first and foremost to our understanding of God and not just another aspect of our self-absorbed sensibility, then sinning must be Christian in a particular way.

A nuanced articulation of sin is overdue in our time.

It strikes me how southern religion, in particular, seems obsessed with personal expressions of lust and Gluttony while ignoring collective culpability in greed, anger, sloth, or pride. These sins grow together into enormous societal ills like racism, sexism, poverty, bigotry, and xenophobia, yet sins of the body receive a disproportionate amount of attention.

Doesn’t greed kill more people than lust or gluttony?

Worse still, preachers fetishize mere expressions of human desire or appetite, elevating them to cardinal sins while enjoying the vicarious obsession of it all.

Seriously, the world needs mending on Main St., as much, if not more so, than any one person’s kitchen or bedroom. What would it look like for the Church to talk about greed as much as it seems to focus talk on sex?

Alas, we shall save our conversation about lust and gluttony for another day. The discussion continues next Wednesday. Hope to see you there.

- Jake