Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Boersma on Penance

I just read a great passage from ''Violence, Hospitality and the Cross' by Hans Boersma. The book is the hottest thing since..ever. I reckon it would be a cracker to book club, since it is written by a Calvinist expert on Calvinism who is able to critique well the crazyness of some Calvinism. Anyways, in one provocative section he wonders whether there is some place for 'penance' in the church and quotes this lady
"Just for a lark, imagine going to your pastor and confessing your rampart materialism, your devotion to things instead of people, and your isolation from the poor whom Jesus loved. Then imagine being forgiven and given your penance: to select five of your favourite things- including perhaps your Bose radio..- and to match them up with five people you know would turn cartwheels to have them. Then on Saturday, put your lawn mower in your trunk, drive down to that transitional neighborhood where all the old people live and offer to mow lawns for free until dark. Discerning sinners will note that none of this is standard punishment. It is penance, which is not for the purpose of inflicting pain but for the much higher purpose of changing lives by restoring relationships" Barbara Brown Taylor Speaking of Sin: the lost language of salvation 93-94.

says Boersma
"Confession and penance are not an unjust violent imposition on the conscience of the individual. Instead, they constitute one of the ways in which the Church safeguards and protects its character as a hospitible community"

As a way of saying to people, "I would like to announce God's forgiveness of sin and help you to be more godly', i reckon this idea sounds pretty good.


Matthew Moffitt said...

Oh, hot.

Dan Anderson said...

so... how would this book club thingy work?