Sin. An attention-getting sexy word that means different things among spiritually minded folk. It’s a word that runs the gamut from red alert to ring my bell, sometimes all at once.
Personally, I’m fascinated by notions of sin. Not because I wanna play tic-tac-toe with my soul, but rather learn my limits, my boundaries in love, materialism, and in spiritual practice versus textbook theory.
With a background in the Christian church as well as traditional African and Afro-Caribbean spiritual practices, my ideas of sin and sinners is pretty eclectic. That said, when I use the word, I’m reminded that many of us are introduced to sin from a biblical stance: Don’t!!
We are told that we are born sinners, raggamuffins who, by hook or crook, are led to the cross. Many of us could have a ceaseless and no doubt heated debate on that score, but maybe the more productive task is to observe and not judge ourselves in relation to sin. I’m not suggesting a thumbs up free for all whatever whatever approach, just an earnest, fearless one.
If sinning means getting caught up in life cycles that have us swirling in hate, discord, overindulgence and other slippery slopes, then yeah, check it. But what if sin, by another name, is pleasure? Bear with me.
Let’s take wine, sex, dancing, the creative arts, tantra, Bohemia, jazz, after hours clubs, silks and satin, carnival, whipped cream at midnight…I could go on. What about the stuff that gives life zest? The stuff that makes bad feel good? And why do so many avenues to pleasure pave roads to hell? (Let my deceased Grandma tell it).
Maybe it’s in the doing and not what’s done. Maybe, like death and taxes, sin is a cautionary thing that reminds us to walk, not run as we navigate life while becoming our good, better, best selves.
A spiritual life shouldn’t be devoid of sin or encased by it. As human beings we are flesh with myriad talents, senses and desires. We have brilliant, capable minds that can make the call to open up or shut down, all depending. We are also infinite spirits, designed to learn, to grow and to triumph not over sin but way beyond it.