Sin as a loose-end

The ever-impressive Marc Barnes at Bad Catholic has the first part of what promises to be a superb series on how sin interrupts the coherence of our life story:

For what is sin? Sin is less like a black mark against our names and more like walking into our home to find our family has grown bat wings. It is that which ought not be, dwelling within us by our own perverse permission. It is absurdity. Our sins present themselves as loose-ends, ought-nots that cannot be fit with the content of our existence. Our sins — locked in our memory, our history, our consciences, our relationships, and our entire state of being — are irreconcilable oddities that niggle and gnaw against our lives for the simple fact that they are not of our lives. They are foreign cells, not-me’s within me, absurdities all and nauseating. We do what we hate, we hurt the one’s we love, we indulge the shameful until we cannot feel the shame, and you hardly need me to remind you of the fact. We say we “are not our true selves” when we sin, and this means the following: That which is not our true selves becomes a part of ourselves. [This is actually heaps helpful for something cool I’m thinking through at the moment! Stay tuned!] Sins are principles of contradiction. We sin, and thereby contain an absence, like hell-bound and miserable doughnuts.

Sin then, is a poorly-written and inexcusable break in the consistency of our existence, one that works directly against our desire for our lives to be, at the end of all things, good stories. Sin is Harry Potter killing himself in the third chapter of the second book, the end. We do what we ought not do, and thereafter live with an absurdity embedded into the flesh of our existence, an ought-not-be, a part that was never supposed to be part of our story — and now is.

No appeal to life is adequate here. No one says c’est la vie to the man who murders his brother. Sin is definitively that which ought not be part of our life story, and thus no consideration of narrative over event will absolve the event. To be in sin is to be without the possibility of a finally meaningful existence. To be in sin is to live an incoherent narrative. To be in sin and to live with past sins is to live a story with loose-ends, a fragmented garble that contains that which ought-not-be and ought-never-have-been. The desire to die a damn good story is impossible to satisfy on the condition of indwelling sin, just as Crime and Punishment could never be the miracle of a narrative that it is if the third chapter contained a disco dance-off between Raskolnikov and Sonya.

Seriously, read it all. It’s great.