In the Rite of Baptism we renounce things before we turn and embrace things. One thing we renounce is “sinful desires” and I a wondering about that because i am teaching on the subject in church this week. Sinful desires. Never has a topic of discussion more led me to a desire to stay home and watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island.
I think the heat work of dealing with sinful desires is to quickly and decisively separate the words. Things are sinful and we have desires, but we get those two words into an entwined mess because for centuries the couch has told us that ll of our desires are sinful and, well, I just don’t buy it.
We have desires and sometimes, some of them are sinful – they miss the mark. They veer off-course int swaps from fresh-water streams.
A desire is being birthed. It is not yet formed. It is just a thought. When I have a desire I always ask one question: “How will I feel when I am done?”
Like a dog with a lightbulb in his mouth rather than his regular stick, we need to coax sinful desires from or own thoughts gently, like removing a bomb from a public square. It takes determination, usually a team and some courage.
When I have sinful desires like chocolate or sex or greed (these are the three top images in Google images of “sinful desires” I find it best to ask a question of myself: “What is beneath this desire?” because usually there is something underneath the desire which is needing to be seen – crying out to be noticed and honored. So I sit with sinful desires the way a police officer might sit with a lost tourist until a map is found. Who are you? What do you want? What do you REALLY want? Who might it harm? What alternative desires exist which are not, well, sinful? And might we choose one of those?