Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Simul Iustus et Peccator

The Latin phrase, simil iustus et peccator, encapsulates how I've been feeling lately in my struggle to have good character. This is highlighted by the fall of NY governor Elliot Spitzer. 

It means simultaneous saint and sinner. The excellent article on the Sojourners website called "Latin Tattoos and 24 Hours of Televangelism" (by Nadia Bolz-Weber) The article deals with the duality of life and the redemption of the Cross of Christ. We are all 100% sinners - but Christ's sacrifice (as Christian's believe) makes us righteous in His eyes, making us 100% saints. It's not a licence to sin -we all are called to live holy and righteous, but it speaks of the state of grace we live in when we are committed to Christ in spite of our failings. It also reminds us of our hopelessness without Christ's sacrifice. Appropriate thoughts during this Lenten and Easter season. 

The article states:
"The really liberating thing about this is that when we all come to the table fully aware that we are sinners, that we are broken on some level and never perfect, then the temptation to pretend otherwise is greatly diminished. To embrace your sinfulness and saintliness is not the same as being intentionally immoral. It is to be realistic that no one can possibly be 100% honest all the time, to always think of the neighbor before the self, to always honor God in everything you do, to at all times decrease in self so that others may increase. Even if our actions come close to this (they never do but if they did), we still are stuck with the reality of our minds and the thoughts of our hearts. You see, the spiritual poison of our own righteousness, of saying here are the rules we must follow to please God and to be sanctified, and I follow those rules so I have good reason to be prideful about my sanctification because I earned it is problematic. The moment we try and maintain our holiness, the moment we try to appear to be without sin, that junk just comes out sideways."
It reminds me of an old Resurrection Band called 'The Struggle' It says"
Sometimes You scare me by what You cause me to see
And I'm afraid of knowing who I am
Although You've changed me there's still a whole lot of old wineskin
And to open up would destroy the me, I'm afraid to show
One part of me doesn't want to grow
But I'm tired of this lingering winter
Tired of ground so hard and cold
Plow Your way through, I'm asking You to, Jesus
Lord, You're my only hope

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