I don’t have cable. I waste enough time on Netflix, and I get enough bad news on my Facebook feed everyday. Social media brings out the monster in just about everyone. Scroll for like, five minutes, and it’s easy to see that something has gone wrong in this world. Corruption, murder, terrorism, racism, Islamophobia, genocide, the list goes on. And those are just the broad terms – I can find at least one news story today under each of these categories.
History is plagued with violent death and the abuse of power, people, and the earth’s resources. It is not simply in the large catastrophic events that we sense brokenness, but also in our own relationships, thoughts, and habits. Our proclivity toward the things that make us dead inside seems so inherent that we’re left pondering the age-old question regarding the slippery slope of our human nature: “How did we fall so far?”
I once tried to write a seminary paper disproving the doctrine of Original Sin. I didn’t get very far before I changed my mind.
We’re entangled in it – born into systems that oppress people of color, women, people with disabilities, people who look, think, believe differently than the dominant culture. It was there in the beginning. On a communal level groups of people – clubs, clans, societies, even countries – choose to give in to evil as a whole. This kind of evil can start out as small actions, but when left unchecked, transforms into oppressive systems, injustice, war, and abuse. Systemic evil leads to the destruction of all of creation – the environment, animals, and other humans. And we’ve inherited these systems of oppression and greed. As a white woman who grew up in an upper-middle class family, I have benefited from these systems.
So what does it look like to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness and reject the evil powers of this world when the world looks like this?