Felix Culpa

5 Jul

I just want to share this quote from Eugene Peterson’s book, Leap Over a Wall–Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians.

The Latin phrase felix culpa, usually attributed to Augustine, puts the hope in a slogan:  “O happy sin!”  Only when I recognize and confess my sin am I in  position to recognize and respond to the God who saves me from my sin.  If I’m ignorant of or indifferent to my sin, I’m ignorant of or indifferent to the great and central good news:  “Jesus saves!”

We don’t want to face sin because we don’t want to lose our god-illusions, we’re afraid that if we’re not the gods of our lives and actions we’re nothing.  But stories like this [David and Bathsheba] sets us free from such sin-fears.  When sin is discovered in us, our guilty fears often produce a sense of condemnation.  But if we stay with the story–the God story, the David story, the Jesus story–before long the condemnation gives way, whether slowly or suddenly, to the surprised realization of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

[I read the other day that Poet James Dickey was a member of the “Make Yourself Do Right Club” when he was in 2nd grade.  My human nature leans toward joining that club, even though I know righteousness is a work of God.]

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