Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Greatest Sinners Are the Most Boring People In the World

In 1990 I purchased Through the Year with Thomas Merton. As much as I can I do a daily Merton reading. Merton spent countless hours praying and listening to God. That is the sort of person I want and need to hear from. As I picked up the book this morning I noted how it is worn and falling apart. But the ideas in it are fresh and revolutionary. Here's this morning's Merton quote.

"There is nothing interesting about sin, or about evil as evil. And the greatest sinners are the most boring people in the world, because they are also the most bored and the ones who find life most tedious."


Because sin is non-creative. When it comes to sin, there is nothing new under the sun. The "big three" of sin - Money, Sex, Power - have always been with us and always will be. "Sin" expresses itself historically and personally in a finite number of permutations, but the elements that get variously ordered are always the same. It would be like having to eat ice cream sundaes all your life, and putting the whipped cream on the bottom of the bowl to do something "different."

Trapped in the non-creativity of sin, people are bored and find life tedious. And "boredom" is not having nothing to do. "Boredom" is doing a lot of things and finding them all meaningless.

Note: "Sin" is one of the words in the Bible used to describe the Human Propensity to Screw Things Up. HPtStU. (Borrowing from British philosopher Francis Spufford, with countless apologies.)