I: (Clapping) Welcome back to our show. We’ve got a real doozy scheduled here today. Since it’s November sweeps, we’re finally going to have the show that you’ve all been waiting for. Jesus is here to give us the low down on what the bad stuff is?
J: What would that be?
I: Why, sin, of course.
J: Oh, that.
I: So, Jesus, would you like to tell us what it’s all about? What is sin? What are we not allowed to do? What do you consider bad stuff?
J: Hmm. Well, you’re all sinners, and you’ll never hope to not be. Got it? Okay, good, that’s our show.
I: (sweating) Umm, Jesus, don’t you have any more than that? We’ve got a half hour to fill here. I thought there would be more.
J: (smiling) A-ha, gotcha. I had you going there, didn’t I? Sorry, that’s my slightly impish human side coming out. Sorry, really, I’m sorry, but there’s some truth to what I just said. Sin is simple, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, in that it is a state from which there is no possible escape. Sin is your natural state of being.
Now, before everybody despairs, I just want to say, it’s okay. The test is graded on a curve. Sin is relative. Since nobody is perfect, everybody is imperfect, and since everybody is imperfect, you only have to do the best you can.
So what is the best I can?
I: That’s what we all want to hear.
J: I got an email the other day. It’s pretty typical, really. It’s one of the multitudes of morally righteous, outraged, “Our society is going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t corral these wicked people” style diatribes. The basis of the email was indignation at the Georgia Tech’s hosting of some sort of Gay and Lesbian fair. It detailed all the typical propaganda points of distasteful ways in which this group of society lives its life: Anal sex, condom use, partners, piercings, flamboyant dress, everything that could possibly offend the conservative portions of society about how “bad” and “evil” and “distasteful” these people are. It detailed how superior are the good and God-fearing among you. How could you not be good? You’re offended by this perversion. Bravo, you are special.
I: I’m sensing sarcasm.
J: You bet your sweet ass! Nothing irritates me more than this form of moral superiority. Look how bad and corrupt these people are. Look how great and good and pure I am because I’m not doing those things. In fact, I’m defending the “righteous” way, but telling everyone how bad these people are and warning them to not send their children to such a corrupt and despicable school. Imagine, trying to understand our fellow humans, bridge a cultural gap, and bring one another closer in brotherhood. The nerve.
No, sin, is a state in which you all live. It’s not bad per say, but sin is something that refers to a lost opportunity, a lost opportunity to do something good, not not doing something bad. Purity isn’t abstinence. Purity isn’t temperance. Purity isn’t what you don’t do.
Example: instead of judging gays and lesbians and any “other” that offends you, why don’t you go with love and get to know them? A lot of people in this outcast community live difficult lives. They either have to hide who they are, or live it out in the open, in your face style. They are starved for love and acceptance and have been burned so many times they attempt to beat you to the punch, so to speak. I reject you before you reject me.
Why not do the contrary thing? You are trying to offend me, but I love you anyway. I accept you. Let’s find common ground.
Sure, a promiscuous lifestyle isn’t very good for you, health-wise or emotionally, but neither is being fat, an alcoholic, or intolerant. Sin is the thing over which you trip, but not tripping in an of itself isn’t the point. Show me a person who never tripped in his life, and I’ll show you someone who didn’t do anything. I’ll show you a person who wasted his life. Now that is what really offends me.
Want to know what offends me? Go to church every Sunday, live a quiet comfortable life without offending anyone, without helping anyone, without taking any risks. Live a good life of piety and with the self-satisfaction that you are a “good” person because you’ve done no wrong. That offends me. Bigtime.
Show me a gay man who has gay sex with his partner and marches in a gay pride parade and works in the Mission District of San Francisco in his free time, who fights for the rights of AIDs infected children to be adopted by loving gay couples, who is kind to strangers and invites them into his home, and I’ll show you someone who’s doing what he should be doing. He loves his significant other. He’s committed to love and inspired by it to reach out to others and help them. He doesn’t worry about himself and what people will think, or what the laws say about his rights with his significant other, or what laws say about gay couples adopting, or the multitudes of slights both big and small that he has to deal with every day by virtue of being a minority. Does he have love in his heart? Yes? Well then, forget the fact that his lifestyle offends you. Get over it. It doesn’t bother me, why should it bother you?
I: But, Jesus, not to disagree with you, but are there some things that are absolutely right and absolutely wrong? I mean isn’t moral relativism the slippery slope to decay and decadence and ultimate destruction?
J: (big booming God voice) Yey, verily, I shall rain fire and brimstone upon your sinful cities and wipe them from the face of the earthly kingdom. I shall purge your wickedness so that I may be satisfied.
J: (haha) Got you again. *reaches for the bowl of cocktail nuts and pops a few* No, dude, that’s Old Testament stuff. *munching* Look, the Divine Creator got a good healthy dose and appreciation of sin when he sent me. Dad, just couldn’t figure out why you guys keep running around in the dark beating on each other when you were scared. He said to me once, ‘Son, I created them. I used the universe to breathe life into that which was devoid. They didn’t have any right to exist, but I gave them a gift. Why do they wail and gnash their teeth so? Why do they not give thanks to the cosmos for birthing them? Why does this not inspire them to greatness?’
And I said, ‘Dad, you don’t understand sin, do you? I think I need to experience what the universe is through their eyes. I need to feel their pain, their doubt, their limited state of being.’
So, I did. I experienced it all: doubt, fear, and death. I think I get what it’s like, which is why I’m here today. Don’t worry about sin. It’s your perpetual state of being. It’s simply a condition under which you all live. If it is a universal constant to the human condition, that is, it applies to EVERYONE, it is irrelevant. Sin doesn’t matter. Forget about it.
So, parents, if you want the best for your children or yourselves, embrace those that offend you. Get to know them, take the opportunity to share in love with those that might be having a tough time. Purity isn’t “not drinking” “not having sex before marriage” “not doing drugs” “going to church” and “not being gay.” What I want for you is for you to be honest with yourselves and try as hard as you can to love the other no matter how much they offend you.
Love them EVEN when they are trying to kill you. I mean, really really really LOVE them. Feel it down in your bones, not as a sacrifice, but as a joy. When I got nailed to that cross and I said, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” I wasn’t saying that for my sake, like, ‘Look how holy I am, I can forgive those that would kill me.’ No, I was making a plea to the Father for them to feel just for a brief instant in their lives the love I felt for them at that moment. For if they could feel it just for a second, if they could feel the rapture of it all, then they would realize that sin is irrelevant, and that before they got to know me, their lives were wasted on fear and hate and idle gossip, pettiness, and intolerance. If they could have just for a second accepted that love and allowed themselves to be remade by it, then there would be no thing too hard, no mission too difficult, and nothing in the universe that did not bring them joy.
Peace out, my brothers and sisters. I love you ALL.