Great Problem, Wrong Solution
Purgatory featured large in last week's launch of our newest Gathering series The Seven Deadly Sins. We let 14th century poet Dante Alighierie be our tour guide as we "worked our way up through Purgatory". According to popular Christian spirituality in the middle ages one was never sure about going directly to heaven after death. You could avoid hell through the ordinance of last rights. But there was never complete assurance that among the following mortal sins, a worshiper would be free enough on the occasion of his death to ascend to heaven without first purging his soul:
- Greed (avarice)
- Sloth (acedia, discouragement)
So to advance to heaven-worthiness, one would have to complete a circuit of purifying exercises that may take up to hundreds of years to complete.
Pictured above is the penalty for the lowest level of purgatory (pride). In order to sufficiently humiliate the proud soul one must ascend this phase of purgatory with a large boulder on his head. You can only imagine the other 6 levels and their corresponding penalties.
IF you had the good fortune of thoughtful relatives who survive you, though, you could have your time in purgatory cut short. Thousands of years could be shaved from your sentence for the mere price of an indulgence.
Dante's depictions are gripping! Especially if you can get a hold of some Gustav Dore art! Sin is indeed dangerous and graphic in damning effects. There's only one slight problem. Theologians of the middle ages allowed church praxis to slide into an entirely unbiblical and ineffective mentality of payment for sin.
Come join us this week as we try to set the Seven Deadly sins straight with some biblical insight. Sin is toxic. But the cure is more potent still. Make your way to Gathering and catch Week Two as we invite pastor Walt Hooker to join us and help us see WHY all sin (not just the seven deadly ones) is bad and what the cure really points us toward.