The first Sunday of Lent is the best time of the year to talk about sin.
Many people in the church, especially the mainline church, are stuck when
it comes to the overlap of sin and sensuality. No one really wants to be
the pastor who comes over all judgmental about sex.
If you've ever changed a diaper, you know that when the baby has a diaper removed, especially a cloth one, there's usually a rush of energy, often laughter, and a convulsion of kicking and rolling and sheer exultation in the freedom of having legs set free from the bondage of damp and sometimes soiled cloth. Babies have no problem with nakedness. It's a relief.
The general synod of the Church of England voted to remove all references to the devil in its baptismal liturgy. The traditional wording, which remains an option, asks parents and godparents if they “reject the devil and all rebellion against God” and whether they “renounce the deceit and corruption of evil.” The new wording implores them to “turn away from sin” and “reject evil.” The alternate wording was made out of sensitivity to the unchurched, and especially to youth who misunderstand references to the devil (Telegraph, February 13).
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).