Lots of North Americans use the word sin only on dessert menus and when telling an inside joke. If they hear the word used seriously, they might conclude that they are in the presence of a Puritan. There are few contexts left in which the word is said and heard straight. Even preachers often mumble when it comes to sin. Yet most people would widely agree that the world is broken—that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. This essay describes sin, its real effects on humanity, and how Christians can contribute to human flourishing.
Sin: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. “Everything’s s’pposed to be different than what it is here.” —Simon (Danny Glover) in Grand Canyon In the 1991 film Grand Canyon, an immigration attorney breaks out of a traffic jam and tries to drive around it. He doesn’t know where he’s going and he’s alarmed to note that each street seems darker and more deserted than the last. Then, a nightmare. His fancy sports car stalls. He manages to call for a tow truck, but before it arrives, five local toughs surround his car and threaten him. Just in time, the tow truck shows up and its driver—an earnest, genial man—begins to hook up to the sports car. The toughs protest: the driver is interrupting their meal. So the driver takes the group leader aside and gives him a five-sentence introduction to sin: Man, the world ain’t s’pposed to work like this. Maybe you don’t know that, […]
Human Flourishing:Toward a Theology of Work and Rest by Danielle Sallade Many people are discussing what constitutes genuine human flourishing.1 One helpful definition comes from theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff, who ties the concept of human flourishing in the Christian tradition to shalom. A flourishing life will be a life lived in right relationship with God, with one’s environment, with neighbors, and with self. “A flourishing life is neither merely an ‘experientially satisfying life,’ as many contemporary Westerners think, nor is it simply a life ‘well-lived,’ as a majority of ancient Western philosophers have claimed.”2 It is a life that both goes well and is lived well. I have the privilege through my vocation in campus ministry of serving current university students. My colleagues and I desire for our students to mature in their Christian faith during their college years. We long for them to flourish, borrowing from Wolterstorff, in right relationship with God (through justification in Christ), with their environment (caring […]
What keeps people from flourishing today? For many college students, busyness not only weighs them down, it causes high levels of anxiety, fear, and depression. But a flourishing life is a life that both goes well and is lived well. This essay offers students a way of hope when they recognize that they will only flourish when they live in right relationship to God, their environment, their neighbors, and themselves. Explore how you, too, can have a flourishing life.