Poem – the two trees.

Sin and shame came into the world
at the same time.
Adam and Eve ate fruit
from the tree
of the knowledge
of good and evil.

After that,
they were full of shame
about being naked,
about who they were,
about their very being,
and so they hid themselves
when God came around.

Before that,
they were
as they were created.
God saw them exactly
the way
God created them.
All was well.
They could be themselves
around God
without any
fear or embarrassment.

Thousands of years later,
Jesus
was placed on the cross,
a wooden pole
stuck in the ground
with a horizontal bar across it.
It was symbolically a tree,
and in fact,
it was symbolically
That tree,
that same tree
in the Garden.

Jesus tells us that
He is the fruit of that tree,
and that we are to eat it.
We are to consume
his flesh
and drink
his blood.

He is the antidote
for that first tree,
that first sin.
He is the cure
for what ails us.

When we eat the fruit
that is Jesus,
we are restored.
We have re-entered
the Garden.
He makes us able
to stand
before God,
as we are,
without sin or shame,
without fear or embarrassment.

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.