Re the Daily Office Readings 5/4/2020

The Readings: Exodus 32:1-20; Colossians 3:18––4:18; Matthew 5:1-10

In a post-Christian society ‘sin’ turns out to be a pretty useless word, if one is, like Francis Spufford, trying to commend Christianity to that society. Spufford’s solution in his book Unapologetic is to talk about the human propensity to fuck things up (HPtFtU). HPtFtU is on full display in our first reading: Israel is newly freed from Egypt, on a beeline to a land flowing with milk and honey, the ink not yet dry—so to speak—on the treaty that secures Israel’s status as the “treasured possession” of the God who’s just gained their freedom without breaking a sweat. The text is an opportunity to wrestle with Spufford’s diagnosis: “The HPtFtU is bad news, and like all bad news is not very welcome, especially if you let yourself take seriously the implications that we actually want the destructive things we do, that they are not just an accident that keeps happening to poor little us, but part of our nature; that we are truly cruel as well as truly tender, truly loving and at the same time truly likely to take a quick nasty little pleasure in wasting or breaking love, scorching it knowingly up as the fuel for some hotter or more exciting feeling.”

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