My brain is full.
I teach one of the post elementary Sunday School classes at Etowah UMC (6th-12th grades). This week our curriculum covered Genesis 3. I hate this chapter of the Bible, and not just because my favorite hobby is childbearing. My poor husband had to listen to me rant over the narrow, sin-focus of the lesson. I wrestled with how to present the material in a faithful and helpful way, but, truthfully, went to bed dissatisfied.
Then I went to worship. The handsome, eloquent, well-dressed preacher (on whom I have a massive crush) began reading the scripture for the day, Matthew 25:14-30, and the heavens opened up. Go ahead and read the passages...I'll wait right here.
Ok, what did you think?
Amazing, right?! The master was not upset by the third slave's sin. He didn't steal or waste his master's money. Instead, the third slave was cast out for mistrusting the goodness of the master. Isn't that what the story of Genesis 3 is really about? Yes, Adam and Eve were disobedient, but I think what really broke God's heart was that they mistrusted God's goodness.
The take home assignment for our class was to avoid some kind of temptation for this week so that we do not fall into sin. That is our problem with protestant churches! We cannot continue to talk about what not to do. What if, instead of getting up wondering how to avoid the "sin the sin that so easily entangles," we get up fascinated by the overpowering love of God. If we trust in the goodness of God, we can engage in risk-taking missions because we know God is overwhelmingly good.
We are losing the cultural battle for young adults in our churches. Why is that? Because our faith is cheap. We tell our youth not to drink, smoke, have sex or do drugs. Then play, worn out, self-focused, culturally irrelevant songs, play a game and send them home. We do not tell them that God, the creator, Jesus, the savior and the Holy Spirit, the breath of God is/are already engaged in a deep, powerful story of love and passion and long/s for each of us to join in that story. We also do not tell them that they will not encounter this story unchanged. This story will cost everything. Everything. You will no longer be safe from the hurt in the world. God grieves the hurt of the world, and so do those who enter into God's story. But, God is love, and love will and does win.
Christians, inexplicably, love to talk about our "sin-nature" and "the fall" and "original sin," but I contend that we should say ENOUGH! Sure, we all sin. I bet you know Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Do you know the rest of that paragraph? The sin club that has been bludgeoning the joy out of Christianity is actually a joyous proclamation of the love of God. I say enough! Let us move forward in joy to bring the Kingdom of God to earth now.
Let's stop telling our teens to avoid sinning and start telling them to discover the power of God's love for them and others.
Also, my phone is not working right.