A Sinner

The Moviegoer, a novel written by existentialist author Walker Percy, takes place in 1950’s New Orleans. This story written long before the levees broke prompting water and mold to destroy many of the places he talks of with so much nostalgia is a beautiful portrait of the spiritual struggle a man named Binx Bolling undergoes. Since the reading of this book I have been aware of this struggle on an almost daily basis.

The struggle: Living in a culture that is plagued (or blessed, I guess it really depends on who you talk with) by the constant reminder of sin and redemption in everything it does.

Allow me to unpack the thought process behind the struggle. As you walk down any street in Seattle you will see metal boxes containing newspapers that tell stories of the world around you and abroad. Some of these newspapers have less advertising than others and the ones with more advertisements are free, the consequence of choosing the “free” paper is half bit journalism, outright propaganda and lewd adverts. One of these free papers is called The Sinner. Within the pages of The Sinner you will find articles on things that we in our culture associate with sin. Full-page gay club ads, 1-800 numbers, and a veritable plethora of other “interesting” articles advocating a life of, well, sin. Here is where the link with the struggle comes in. The first thing is the title. Only in a culture where the idea of sin (or more specifically the word sin and all of the associations that come with it) is so pervasive would someone take the time to make a newspaper called The Sinner. For those strange folk who don’t know what a Sinner is they could simply look inside the paper, peek at the pictures, read the articles and say, “oh, so that’s what a Sinner is”.

Some of you may say, “well, every culture has some form of sin, they just don’t call it by that name”, and I would have to agree with you. But the fact of the matter is that I live in this culture so I can only pretend to be an authority on that which surrounds me. I have no grounds to speak for the Italians who must deal with this theme of sin and redemption on a much more intense level than we do what with Vatican City sitting amidst a most debaucheries and indulgent modern day Rome.

For the sake of brevity it could be broken down like this, people trying to do their best not to sin, people trying to sin as much as possible or folks trying to wade through the maze of sin and redemption, looking for a good median between sin and redemption.

Walker Percy puts it this way, “wherein everyone is nicer than Christians and naughtier than pagans, wherein there are dreamed not one but two American dreams: of Ozzie and Harriet, nicer-than-Christian folks, and of Tillie and Mac and belly to back.”


Blogger Carlene said...

The thing about redemption is that it takes Mercy to achieve, and the thing about mercy is that the more you know of it the more you realize you need it. The thing about sin is that the greatest sin and the slightest of sins still require redemption and mercy. As we wade through the maze, we need to hold tight to mercy. As Andrae Crouch reminds us Mercy is what we need. All of us.
(now... quoting Andrae is really showing my age!)

6:20 AM  
Blogger Corey said...

Mercy. Yes thats a good point Carlene. Sometimes i feel like your the only one readint his thing. Thanks for the feedback.

8:14 AM  

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