we’ve got to talk about this

One of the things which I love about blogging is that somewhere inside of it conversation is hidden.

My friend, in her cleverly named blog Half-Formed Wish, says ‘sin is selfishness’.

Say it fast & it might come out as ‘half-warmed-fish’.

Go ahead.

You see?


She is a bright girl.

Full of ideas.

Also cleverly saying with the name of her blog that what she writes are only ideas & ‘half-warmed’ at that.

I wish I was as creative.

In her blog she wonders about God & faith & life.

As many do.

As I also do.

In this particular post she talks about more than just her conviction that ‘sin is selfishness’.

She also talks about ‘how God communicates’.

Apparently she’d been told the same thing from five different sources, including a tweet by the hip-hop artist Lecrae.

Go check it out. I’m putting ‘links’ everywhere, it is as easy as a ‘click’ of the mouse.

My friend thought, maybe, just maybe God is trying to tell her something with the same thing from five different sources.


I wanted to converse with her about this, but she blogs in blogger and try as I may, my WordPress ID, my gmail account, my gravatar, none of it wants to let me post a comment, unless I sign-up for a blogger blog & then I can comment to my heart’s content.

But, hey, I’m on FaceBook, I’m on Twitter, I’m right here in the wonderful world of WordPress, I can’t blog in two places.

Or can I?

If I can, let me know.

Some friends want me to blog in Tumblr – eish.

Too much, unless I can sort of blog here & copy to blogger & tumblr.

Automatically …

Can I?

If I can, why not.


Unable to comment on her blog, I decide to blog about it & hopefully someone will read what I post & comment & we can have a bit of a conversation.

I know Bjorn will.

Please Bjorn, talk to me.

And maybe my friend the faithful sceptic.

Step 1: look for a picture for this responsive post.

A picture with your blog is nice.

I don’t know why. It just is.

That’s what bloggers do, whether in wordpress or blogger or tumblr.

I get my pictures from two sources and there is nothing to be read into that.

No divine message.

Just two sources.

That is how it is.

Either from my beautiful Zuko (who incidentally recently started her own photo blog right here on wordpress at zukopienaar.wordpress) or from stock.xchng.

But Zuko haven’t done too many conceptual ‘sin’-pictures. Not any that I know of or could post here at this very moment and hence I revert to that ‘leading free stock photo site’ & search ‘sin’.

I can’t really say what I was expecting, but I did not expect 55 photos of apples.

Fables are deeply ingrained in western society.

And pictures obviously speak louder than words.

The pen is not mightier than the sword it seems.

The picture is.

Think Humpty Dumpty sitting on that wall.

What do you see?

You see an egg.

Nowhere in the poem it says Humpty is an egg.

But in 1904 a certain W. W. Denslow illustrated this children’s rhyme, which seemed to have its origins as a riddle.

How did he portray Mister Dumpty?

As an egg.

The Oxford English Dictionary believes that the term ‘humpty dumpty’, in the 17th century, referred to a drink of brandy boiled with ale and, in the 18th century, to a short and clumsy person.

Perhaps the riddle which has become a rhyme never refered to an egg at all.

Perhaps it warned of the dangers of excessive drinking, especially for short clumsy people, in that typical puritan doomsday way which have found its way right into our 21st century western christian religion and which brings us back to my friends half warmed fish – the sin-thing.

So I find pictures of apples depicting ‘sin’.

It comes, off course, from the thing with the snake & the tree of which the Christian Old Testament & the Jewish Pentateuch talks in the ‘Genesis’ of things.

The Holy Texts of these two monotheistic religions never describe which fruit it was that Eve & Adam so boldly ate.

Thank you illustrated children’s bibles. 🙂

Think Adam & Eve …

Yes the beautiful pristenely white (naked) couple, their strategic bits wholesomely covered by leaves and in their hands (wait for it) … an apple.

Usually a red one.

It is visually more appealing.

The notion that ‘sin’ is stuff we do, I believe, has travelled through time in a similar way.

I have that depiction hanging in our kitchen.

A reprint.

Hanging there, not because I subscribe to its idea of God & life & final destination. Rather because I do not & it serves as a constant reminder how stupid my kind can be & how easy it is to start a movement based on fear.

You must know it?

Perhaps it was even proudly displayed in your grandmother’s house or used as prop in a sunday school class?

It shows two roads & two destinations.

The one road (the broad one) is filled with places where people drink & dance & gamble. On that same road, in the picture against my kitchen wall, is also ‘de lening huiz’, the bank offering loans.

I’m doomed.

At least for the better part of the next two decades.

Doomed to that flaming place of torture, according to the theology of that picture, at the end of the broad road.

I’m on that road.

I love dancing with my Zuko.

I love sitting down with a glass of red wine (or sour mash whiskey, depending on the occasion) and talking late into the night.

Doomed indeed.

‘Sin is selfishness’.

Is the snot running out of your nose when you are afflicted by influenza the virus itself?

Is the headache and fever which tires you out & makes you all grumpy the virus?

Or the sore throat?

I don’t think so.

They are symptoms.

Your body’s physical response to the invasion of the influenza virus.

The virus is inside of you.

It is in your blood.

It pulses through your veins.

This is my ‘half warmed fish’ on the subject of sin.

Selfishness is the snot.

A symptom.

My soul’s response to something else pulsing in my being.

It is there.

I cannot deny it.

In me.

Inside of me.

It is running down my face & makes people gag as they interact with me.

It is inside of the greedy bastard who exploits his workforce, not paying them a fair wage, just sucking them dry so that he (or she) can increase profits.

It is inside the megalomaniac despot who, drunk with power, does not govern in benevolence, but steals & destroys.

It is inside the insignificant African boy who holds on to his little bit of money, using it only to benefit himself and his family, with not a thought spared for anyone else or the possibility that he may affect someone’s life.

It is in me.

In many.

But the stuff I do or do not do, the selfishness is not it.

And somehow it is becoming less.

In me.

If I may be so bold (or arrogant).

And I believe it is becoming less, because God has allowed me to live in relationship with him (or her?) and has affected me.

Changed me.

Giving me insight into my own being.

Giving me a new set of eyes with which to look at life.

A softer heart.

A different ambition.

I cannot buy into the ‘sin’-theology.

That is not what I read of in the Christian New Testament or the Jewish Pentateuch.

I read of a God who connects with people.

A God who calls a fornicating, murdering, arrogant red-headed boy a man after his own heart.

A God who lets animals talk so that a city of idiots may be saved.

A God who loves a prostitute & does stuff alongside her.

Amazing life changing stuff.

A God who removes sin from all people as far as the east is from the west.

Who dumps it in the deepest depths of the sea & never thinks of it – yeah, you get those words in the Old Testament, brother.

Written by Jews.

Before Jesus was born a human.

Perhaps this is my ‘half warmed fish’: more than what we can imagine of what we ‘believe’ comes from Humpty Dumpty pictures.

And perhaps we should talk about this stuff.

Not trying to convince each other of an opinion.

But to hear each other.

To get some insight.

For me – it has always been a whisper.

God’s ‘talking’.

Deep in my being.

A wordless whispered conviction.

Not loud or obnoxious at all.



Not in words I can recognize.

Or words for which the Oxford English Dictionary would have a definition.

In something else.

An awakened love, possibly.

Talk to me.


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Just click this link to take a look: Theunis Pienaar in Amzaon.


16 thoughts on “we’ve got to talk about this

  1. OH MAN!!!!!! FOOD FOR THOUGHT HIERDIE TYD VAN DIE NAG!!!! Weereens PRAGTIG!!!!! Dankie, dankie vir die raakvat!!!! Waarvat!!!!! Die vreeslik sigbare gedagtes waarmee ek kan speel as ander outjies so klei praat naby my – my asem moet asseblief nie op my ouderdom met Quatch besig gehou word nie!!!! Dankie, weereens!!!!!

  2. so, … following on from what you just said, sin is indeed a strange fellow.
    The archer steadies himself and aims high (at least, so it seems at first). He locks his forearm and drags back the bowstring, labouring as he takes up the strain. The straightened arm twitches under the tension seconds before the arrow is loosed.
    Great hope and expectation soars with it. Willing the tip onwards. It flies victoriously, even defiantly for a while. Nature and gravity play with it and very soon overcome. The arrow loses its footing in the air and arches toward the ground again. It falls far short, thumping into the dusty earth. The target remains unreached, unpierced. The target, once so desirable and noble now seems to be taunting and critical. Once beckoning and so attractive it now looks on as if aloof, even vacantly while the dust slowly settles on the once proud and hopeful but now blunted projectile lying partly submerged in the dirt.
    The archer now has a choice. Either he walks away and tries to forget he ever removed the dart from his quiver or let it loose, or … he must walk towards the watching eye of the evasive target to stoop down and bow as he confronts his having missed the mark while attempting to retrieve his blunted missile.

    and speaking of the first communion meal … I think not an apple, … but perhaps grapes … and in the preserved writings of the order of the ancient Hebrew priests there is a suggestion, one of those ‘dark sayings’ – perhaps even a mystery, a veiled secret … it tells us that the life is in the blood.

    … as for old Humpty Dumpty, … he wasn’t pushed … he just slipped, that’s all.

  3. Pingback: the grapes of sin « the faithful skeptic

  4. hehe!
    as far as tumblr goes, i bet there is a way of just automatically importing blog posts from a wordpress blog. it would have something to do with the RSS feed. i’ve never tried it, but all these systems work more or less the same.

    i had a long comment typed out, then deleted it. then i wish i hadn’t, but then i realised worked out for the best. everything happens as it is planned. sin!! lol!! thats so funny. God must have a really big black book. a really, really big one!!

    we’re here to evolve awareness, consciousness. i can’t see it any other way. the whole “design” (for lack of a better word) indicates this. you get challenged, you learn to react to the challenge in a way to better yourself and uplift all those influenced by said challenge. you grow, expand. is this selfish? someone once told me, “the only true knowledge is knowledge of self”. think about that for a while. if man is the microcosm of the macrocosm and everything out there is inside us too, doesn’t that make sense? so isn’t this selfish? our solar system is the prefect model of what scientists believe an atom looks like. and so is the universe and so on and so on. where is God then? out there or inside? so what is sin? what is it?

    sometimes i think i’m a master, then i regain consciousness and realise i’m nothing and it’s such a relief!

      • Hey Wendy – you found it. 😉 I said a lot of it in my post, talking about ‘sin’ not being something we do, but rather a condition, and one we are save from & being saved from daily. Agreeing with you that selfishness (which I read as lovelesness) is destructive, destroying my own ‘being’. Maybe, if there is something in my post which awakens some thoughts, you can throw them my way. I look forward to it.

  5. you have to ask yourself though, what is sin? who made those rules? does it even exist? if you’re striving constantly to better yourself as a human being, what more is there to it? is drinking a good glass of whisky a sin? is swearing when venting your frustrations a sin? is sex before marriage really a sin? and if it is, how is it a sin?
    i say just strive to become a Son of God, as Jesus tried to point out to us, but he was so misunderstood!! we are all the “Sons of God” just like He was labelled. all the other stuff is just bullshit.

    eisntein once said, “i want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are just details”

    my favourite quote always is, don’t get so caught up in the trees that you miss the forest entirely!

    • As far as my thinking is concerned, Bjorn, I do believe this reality suffered a loss at some point in time, going out of sync with its intention – this is personal, I need to find an understanding of why there is so much destruction surrounding us, death, war, broken relationships, but I do not subscribe to the ‘list’-perception of ‘sin’, it being a list of do’s and dont’s, and us trying to comply with this list.

      If you look at the ancient greek texts, they speak of ‘hamartalos’, a missing of an original intention, which makes sense in terms of being out of sync or off target, but I do think to symplify this to single acts (like drinking or sex in certain situations) is to subjectify it & to say that we are the sum of our actions, which I believe we are not.

      For me sin is out of the way. It is dealt with. It is sorted & not an issue anymore, so it doesn’t really justify a discussion, but it has been ingtrained in western thinking that sin exists, that there is right and wrong, good and evil, beautiful & ugly. INterestingly, in eastern thought, if one thing is beautiful it does not mean the opposite must be ugly. That is just how we’ve been conditioned to think, a sunset can be as beautiful as a sunrise, light can be as beautiful as darkness, laughter as tears, death as life etc.

      I agree that it is about being.

      And then about being connected.

      This is rather existential, but I’ve seen what I have become, in relationship & I know it is more ‘me’ than I was outside of that relationship.

      This is what I embrace, hoping that I will become, more, me, with every day that passes, discovering the immense beauty born inside of me & giving expression to it in a physical, emotional & spiritual reality.

      • my theory is, most of the things that are considered ‘sin’ comes from very ancient spiritual truths (a lot if it eastern) which says for instance in the case of sex, that it is better to not have sex often so as to save up spiritual energy.

      • I actually wasn’t trying to define “sin” once and for all…didn’t mean for it to come across as that. As you say I’m not really into this whole sin-theology either. I think modern christians have over done it focusing so much on sin that you often can’t see the Jesus who loves them through all the muck and dirt and grime. Mostly I was trying to say that sometimes God is trying to get our attention, and that sometimes we should listen, even when we’re not sure we agree or have figured out exactly what he is trying to say.

        I don’t think we’ll ever really know for sure what sin is. I think if we did understand it we’d probably be a lot more grateful that God has taken it away further than we can imagine. I also don’t think that God ever intended us to live with a focus on sin. That’s why God free’d us from it. So we could focus on HIM.

      • that is exactly what i love, Wendy, that neither of us have the attitude of ‘this is it’. my post isn’t meant as a ‘correction’ or as a response in the sense of ‘this is what i think in opposition to what you think’. As westerners (and not only people with a european dna are westerners anymore, western thinking is in everyone, as colonialism has moved from a very overt physical invasion to a more subtle mental & pyschological invasion) we too often thinking in ‘debate-fromat’ … two oposing positions, the one trying to crush the other. My post is more in the spirit of conversation, not trying to take away from what you’ve said, but just talking about it, putting next to it what floats in my heart.

        I think God speaks to us in so many different ways. He IS. Someone. Real. I think religion has tried to make us forget that, taking on the role of deseminator or mediator, on His behalf, so that we don’t even expect Him to speak fro himself.

        When my son was born, my first child, he (not my son, God, although he did speak through my son, through his being, without words) ‘spoke’ to me about so many things, about unconditional love, about acceptance, about how I grew up & the innapropriateness of it, about life & meaning … in that speaking he changed me, affected me, made me more, I would even hope to say.

        I loved your post, it unlocked a door in my heart & opened this conversation.

        I am grateful for having met you. 🙂

  6. Pingback: this is beautiful, and this too « Sevencitys' Blog

  7. Pingback: exquisitely woven « Sevencitys' Blog

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