I’m still thinking through the many discussions that happened at the World Horror Convention 2007. One huge conversation we got into was about what is sin and how should a loving community respond to sin as well as help each other along through/past it. Ironically, few in the discussion actually went to church: a common tale in the horror community is that many of us had been kicked out of churches in the past or made to feel unwelcome.

I guess my current thoughts harken back to the idea of what it means to be a missional church. We are all in the same sin boat. There are no “super sins”, contrary to how we seem to act. There are sins the Bible spends more time talking about than others (funny, they’re rarely the ones that get all the “press”). But I don’t think sin is the beginning of the Gospel message, nor do I think it is the first thing that defines us.

Part of the mission of the Church is to be a hospice. Part of the mission of the church is to try to inflict less damage in the world and be a healing blessing. Part of the mission of the church is to bring about reconciliation between people (one to another) as well as God. In other words, the mission of the church is to love. “The most loving thing we can do is point out their sin.” Please. Spare me your line of spiritualized B.S. We, the church, have too often assumed the right to speak into people’s lives, which has led to much of the judgmentalism that characterizes us today.

Yes, we still have to speak on sinfulness and sin in each other’s lives. However, it is easy to sit in judgment of other people’s sin rather than focus on our own sin (or even our sinfulness being a unifying point that should keep us free of being too judgmental). Even as “iron sharpens iron” and we continue to make disciples as we learn/form one another in community, we still have to earn the right to speak into each other’s lives.

I think speaking on sin begins with self-examination. The first question I’m going to ask myself is “do I love you enough to speak on your sin?” I’m not going to speak about “your” sin unless you know you are first loved by me. And I mean “know” in more than the “I love you”-easy-to-say brand of love. I’m talking about the unmistakable knowledge where there is no doubt by you about how I feel, because these sort of conversations, first and foremost, have to be done from a place of love. Also, I’m not going to speak on your sin until I’ve looked at myself and realized that I’m no different that them.

So, thinking back to my friends/family that make up my writing community at WHC, I hate to break it to some of them, but they aren’t as outside the church as they think. They are a part of my learning community. They help shape my theology. They love me and speak into my life. They’re stuck with me. Yep, sounds like a solid community to me.