The running club.

What if there was a running club that no longer ran? They sit around talking, wearing their running clothes. They really are proud of being runners.

But they no longer even plan runs. They no longer even look at maps of places to run.

They have scrapbooks filled with pictures of when they used to run. The pictures are faded and fraying.

Sure, some members go out for a jog every now and then. A noble few even do marathons. But most sit around in their polyester track suits and eat cupcakes and drink lemonade.

“We are runners! Running is the best way of life!” They happily exclaim to anyone in earshot.

New people join the club. They’ve heard about this running club. They’ve met all the champion runners in the place. Maybe they will learn some great tips. They are eager to begin running.

Years go by. Nothing happens. Their butts get wider. They start to get really inflexible. But they are in a running club. So they know they will start running. They are waiting for the right time to get started. There are committees about running. There are task forces to plan running.

Others, not in the club, start to notice that they aren’t running. They mention it, quietly at first. Then they get a little bolder. “How come you are a club for runners, and you don’t run?” they say. The runners are shocked. “Heretic! How dare you! We are runners! You can’t talk badly about us! We have rights!”

“Yes, of course you do, but I was just wondering if you were going to go running sometime?”

“We are runners, can’t you see that? We are in a running club. You are persecuting us.”

The Test is Rigged.

The test is rigged.

There is no way you can win with the idea of original sin. If you say that humans are faulty from the very beginning, broken and sinful down to our very core, then there is a problem.

This mindset causes dependency. It creates in people a feeling of never being good enough. That they never will measure up.

Let’s go with the Adam and Eve story. They ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before they even had the knowledge of good and evil. Thus they had no way of knowing that what they were doing was wrong. So it wasn’t fair to punish them.

Nothing that is from God is bad. So we were made with free will and curiosity. We are finite where God is infinite. We are mortal. We break. Things aren’t effortless for us. We need a little help. We can’t understand and follow all the rules.

So then Jesus comes along and tells us to love. He breaks down all the rules into two – love God, and love your neighbor. Seems simple enough. Then he pays our tab for us – our debt of sin is paid. Some people need to hear that. But perhaps what he really was doing was just saying that we are fine the way we are. We aren’t perfect and we never will be. We can’t ever win, because the game is fixed. He’s letting us know that we are ok. We aren’t to blame for our nature, because it is just the way we are.

Now would be the time that somebody will quote from Paul or point out that “whoever is without sin” gets to cast the first stone. Nobody gets to throw stones. Because throwing stones isn’t showing love. Thinking you are better than somebody else isn’t being loving.

Rather than load people up with guilt about their sin by making them say the confession every week, why not turn it around and teach people different ways they can be more loving and compassionate?

Every week, every day, every minute, we aren’t going to measure up to the idea of being perfect. We never will be perfect. We can’t be. That isn’t human nature. Focusing on our sin keeps us pointed in the wrong direction. We need to learn how to be better at what we can do, rather than on what we can’t do.

We say that Jesus paid for all our sins. So why do we keep pulling them out and focusing on them? This seems pathological.