Last March I had the opportunity to attend the Progressive Youth Ministry Conference, held at the Cathedral of Hope, in Dallas, Texas. One of the sessions I attended was led by Danielle Shroyer about her new book, Original Blessing: Putting Sin in Its Proper Place.
Original sin, as descried by Danielle is the ‘red sock’ in our theological laundry. In her new book, Danielle explores how we are not born separated from God as God has chosen fidelity over separation. We are not separate from God, and if we are, it’s on our end.
In Dallas, Danielle outlined for us how and why Original Blessing vs. Original Sin could be a valuable tool in youth ministry. I’ll share the outline below but encourage you to purchase her book
, listen to the C & GJ episode she was just on, and then fill in some of the blanks.
Original Blessing provides a grounded identity to youth in a season when they need it most. The doctrine of Original Sin grounds our identity in ourselves and not in God. In a time where teens are coming into their own, finding their identity, it is important for them to know God is there, loving them for who they are, by default.
According to Danielle, Original Blessing provides a the ground work for a healthy sexuality. Because sex has became a dirty or bad thing in many circles within Christianity, it’s not wonder teens are confused and don’t have a clear understanding of what it means for sex to be part our God’s divine design for us. This is not a free pass for a sexual free-for-all but it does open up the possibility that we are not the sum our our sexuality.
Agency & Call
Danielle suggested that maybe the Garden, then removal from the Garden is part of our maturing process. God giving clothing to Eve and Adam is a way of God addressing our own shame and not leaving us to stand there naked and confused. According to Danielle, it is possible the first couple were not banished from the Garden. Rather Eve and Adam were sent forth. This is a way of acknowledging conflict we experience with one another, and God, but still moving forward with peace.
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