"you are forgiven, go and sin no more" Isn't this a bit of a set-up? I keep reflecting on the previous post about sin being equated with actions. We cannot be sinless. Our human-ness prevents this. But yet Jesus told those he healed to go and sin no more. Is that to imply that it's possible to not sin? Or is it a particular act of sin that he is speaking to? Perhaps the acts of sin, the biggies, are more important to pay attention to than I suggested previously. As a leader in the church I am held to a higher standard than most folks - like it or not. To become a firefighter or a CPA, you probably don't have to sign a document stating that you will be faithful in your marraige. Sure, an affair might really screw things up for you, but likely wouldn't mean career suicide. But as a pastor one is required to not practice infidelity. But we are not required to sign a document that states we will not covet our neighbor's Toyoto Prius. Coveting is not a reason to be taken out of your position as a pastor. So we expect our religious leaders to be good, moral, upstanding examples of holiness. Yet, I feel that in postmodern Christian communties leaders are given authority who are transparent about being flawed. I sense that people trust me (in part) because I am pretty forthright about being kind of a lousy Christian. I wonder if Ted Haggard felt he could be honest in such a manner? If he had all along been open about who he really is, would the deciet and acting out have happened? To postmoderns a person in spiritual leadership is not the one who appears to be the most holy, but one who is honest and humble about what it means to be deeply faithful and deeply flawed and who by doing so allows others to not feel compelled to hide who they are. . SO...it's ok, or even respected to fall short in certain areas, but not in others. Therefore I might be respected for admitting that I struggle with attractions to others, but if I committed audultery, my authority vanishes. My sister suggests this is because struggling with temptation is ok, but when you give in, you've stoped struggling. Can we avoid giving in to temptation? So sin is a state of being and an act. One we can help, the other we can't? Comments on this would be appreciated. Another biggie: What exactly does it mean that God "forgives" our sin? Is it that our infractions are wiped off the big dry erase board in the sky? This idea seems a bit weird to me. I'm more comfortable with the idea that as we admit that we've fallen short we become more aware of God's grace and are compelled to rely on God, this power greater than us and from whom we came. Through this we uncover the lie of self and the truth of God. We are not bound to our sin, or our mistakes, or our shortcomings, or our brokenness. There is wholeness in God, but not in reliance on ourselves. This is going to take awhile for me to work out.