Terms like sinner or saint tend to make us uncomfortable. Instead of original sin, we prefer original blessing. Inherent worth and dignity. We want to talk about complexity, shades of gray.
But then — like our last series said it: it gets personal. Someone we trust betrays us, or lies to us. Someone shares their ideas that violate our sense of goodness, equality, justice. Someone we admire acts selfishly, says something racist, sexist — hateful — sometimes even on purpose.
In these moments, we often feel caught. Caught in simplified ideas about other people — who to trust, when and how to forgive, and who deserves what in life. And, caught in an old binary of either judgment, or boundary-less compassion. Either we let it go, tell them “I love you anyway,” or “you’re still a good person;” or, we end the relationship. Sometimes passively, sometimes urgently. We think: we can’t engage with someone so unhealthy, wrong, even — evil.
But the core of our faith says there’s another way. One that doesn’t divide the whole world up into heroes and villains — and instead says: none of us is ever reducible to our best, or our worst acts. One that embraces the reality that we are all sinners, and saints fully, and always. We can and do harm each other, and ourselves. And, we are capable of generosity, selflessness, beauty.
Whatever is true in this moment, and wherever any of us are in our lives, or where Life is now, it’s not the end of the story. When we open ourselves to this truth, we make room for grace, and real healing to show up.
It’s this path that we invite you to explore with us in the coming weeks in our series, Sinners and Saints. We’ll be delving into what happens after things get personal — and the practices that help us break free from the binary, and commit ourselves to a vision of humanity that is grounded in courageous love, and the (risky, often-painful) choice we have to trust each other, and the larger universe — through it all.
Series Spiritual Practices
This Buddhist practice is a practice of developing compassion and connection with all of life. It invites us to first practice compassion for ourselves, then for others, then, for all of life, in an ever-increasing circle of connection and love. You can find many examples online, and we’ll be practicing this throughout the series in our 11:30 service.
Sinners & Saints Soul Collage
SoulCollage® is a method of self-discovery through the creation and intuitive analysis of collaged cards. More information at soulcollage.com and look for a workshop at Foothills the morning of Saturday, Oct. 12. More info at foothillsuu.org/signup