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Celebrations of Discipline: Submission - Robert Foster (8 of 10)

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Obstacles to Union: A Relational Understanding of Sin

Volume 3:2 Spring 2005

“The guiding image for the Conversations Journal is a large table in front of a warm fire. Seated together are representatives from the prominent tributaries of Christian spirituality— incarnational, contemplative, evangelical, holiness, charismatic, and social justice. Each is participating in a dialogue, sharing with unusual transparency about authentic transformation and why it seems so difficult actually to become like Jesus.” (Editors, vol 3.2, 13) As we delve into another issue of Conversations, let that imagery invite your presence to the table as well. This month we’ll be studying the topic “Obstacles to Union: A Relational Understanding of Sin” from vol 3.2.

The writers and editors in this issue explored the theological concept of sin. Then, they took that assignment a step beyond explaining religious rhetoric, and dared to admit that there is a gap between understanding what sin is, and the spiritual experience of encountering obstacles in our desire to be close to God. Having invited contributors from various Christian traditions into the conversation, we consider more than just the traditional definition of what “sin” is. “For example, St. Ignatius reframed sin as less an act of rebellion than the consequence of not knowing and deeply trusting the love of God—love that brings with it the assurance that God wants our happiness and fulfillment more than we ever could. Julian of Norwich suggested something quite similar, proposing that sin is spiritual blindness, the failure to see the extravagant love of our Beloved.” (Benner, 5)..." from the article: Obstacles to Union: A Relational Understanding of Sin

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