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May 21, 2020 

 

Dear Friends,

“O Almighty God, merciful father, I, a poor, miserable sinner
confess onto thee all my sins and iniquities...”

The above quote came from the Lutheran Book of Prayer that was given to me the first day of third grade Sunday School. As an eight-year-old, I was puzzled as to what I did to become a poor miserable sinner and have God deem me unworthy of His love. Nevertheless, I believed what I had read because it came from the church. From that point on, I lived as a young child who just wasn’t good enough and that, to some degree, affected every aspect of my life.

The concept behind my being a miserable sinner is called Original Sin. Supposedly some six thousand years ago Adam and Eve were living a paradisiacal life in the Garden of Eden. Every need was filled, and every desire was granted except for the tree of forbidden fruit. Then one day temptation becomes too great, the two eat the forbidden fruit and literally all hell breaks loose. A dark and murky shadow of guilt, shame and fear was cast over Adam and Eve. Adam was condemned to a life of hard labor and Eve was condemned to the pain and anguish of childbirth. Their grievous error was called Original Sin and like some all-encompassing genetic disposition, every single person born after them (that includes us) was determined to be a descendant and therefore inherited the sinfulness.

That is quite a story. And let’s be clear that it is a story, a fictional story, a myth that is bare of any historical fact. From the beginning, the purpose of Original Sin was for the church to control the people. If the people thought they were sinful and fearful they would go to hell, it was the religious leaders that could save the day by praying them into heaven - if they obeyed.

The Adam and Eve story is an interesting one. When read as an allegory there is a great lesson to learn from it. To make the theme of the story, Original Sin, is truly the greatest sin of all. No human being should have his or herself, soul, or personhood, inflicted with such a sick, insidious notion. The pomposity and arrogance of the preachers who spew out the corrupt dogma are creating the biggest sin of all, the defiling of the human being, God’s greatest creation.

If you have had bouts with low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority and a sense of unworthiness, I ask you to awaken from the illusion that has smothered your true essence and expression. You weren’t born a sinner. There is nothing wrong with you. There is everything right with you. The next time you have a chance, gaze upon a small baby. Look closely into his or her eyes. When doing this you do not gaze upon a sinner. You gaze upon a being very much like yourself that has an abundance of good and kindness and love and compassion to express to the world. Let us grind out the notion of original sin and claim our rightful, God-given inheritance of being born as an Original Blessing.

Blessings,
Duke