Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Me?

I'm currently in a small group that is going through an adaptation the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The first few weeks have just been setting the ground work, this week is the first full week. The first topic for reflection?

The Negative Force of Sin in the World.

I must confess I had an inward groan - that continued when I saw the sub-categories
  • The Sin of the Angels. Luke 10:18
  • The Sin of Adam and Eve. 1 Cor 15:21
  • The Sin of Adam and Eve (part 2) Genesis 3: 1-19
  • The Sin of One Person. Luke 12:20
  • Reflection on Judas. Matt 26:24
  • Reflection on your own life.
  • A Meditation on Hell. Matt 25:34, 41

This is not exactly the way I want to spend my week. A large part of my own faith journey has been shaking off the labels of 'Sinner' and 'Fallen' because they obscured me from seeing the goodness that God has placed in me. I've spent all this time bolstering my fragile self-esteem, why go back to berating myself?

I could write a long post about Augustine vs Pelagius vs Aquinas and the doctrine of 'Original Sin', but although I find the differing views interesting, the reality it would be 'head games' for me.

In wikipedia it says about Original sin: "In the history of Christianity this condition has been characterized in many ways ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a "sin nature," to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt by all humans through collective guilt."

I could wax eloquently about 'deficiency' vs 'tendency' vs 'total depravity', but it's all an emotional smoke screen. The truth is that I sometimes do things wrong. I sin, I 'miss the mark'. I think all of us, if we are honest, would say we sometimes 'miss the mark' even if we disagree about what that mark is and how it gets set.

This morning as I prayerfully reflected on the 'Sin of the World' the phrase 'Why Me?' rattled around my brain. Normally it is my mantra whenever things go wrong, but today as I thought about the world and my place in it, 'Why Me?' was a statement of wonder and gratitude.

Thousands go to bed, hungry, cold and fearful. I go to bed, content, overweight and snuggled in my comforter - why me?

Thousands have no employment and health coverage. I have a well paying job, medical insurance, and access to the drugs I need - why me?

I never thought that starting a week meditating on 'Sin' would lead me to 'Gratitude'.

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