Friday, June 8, 2007

What’s Your Biggest Sin?

I posted earlier this week about the Presidential Forum on Faith, Values, and Poverty that was sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal on Sunday, June 3. The name given to the forum would lead one to think that the forum was going to focus on the way that the faith and values of the three presidential candidates who participated (Clinton, Edwards, and Obama) would influence their administration’s policies on dealing with the problem of poverty in this nation. To Jim Wallis’s (Sojourners Editor-in-Chief and Call to Renewal CEO) credit, when he got a chance to ask a question he zeroed in on the poverty issue. The discussions that grew out of questions like those asked by Wallis in which the candidates addressed how their faith would inform their policies were helpful.

But there were other kinds of questions, too.

The question of the night, and I don’t mean that in a positive way, was asked by moderator Soledad O’Brien, who works for CNN.

She asked John Edwards, right there in front of a studio audience of 1,300 and a national television audience, “What is the biggest sin you’ve ever committed?”

Edwards’ answer was not bad. He said,

I'd have a very hard time telling you one thing, one specific sin. If I've had a day -- I turn 54 years old this Sunday -- and if I've had a day in my 54 years where I haven't sinned multiple times, I would be amazed. I believe I have. I sin every single day. We are all sinners. We all fall short, which is why we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. I can't -- to try to identify one particular sin that was worse or more extreme than the others, the list is too long.

As I said, that’s not a bad answer, and it’s one that you would expect a Baptist like Edwards to offer.

As a public service, I’d like to offer some other answers that one could give to that question. So, if you’re ever asked in public (or in private, for that matter), what the biggest sin you’ve ever committed is, you have my permission to use one of these, free of charge.

1. “Thank you for this opportunity to come clean; I’ve been craving an opportunity to tell everybody about this.”

2. “Lying. Take my word for it.”

3. “Thank you for giving me the chance to finally make my mother proud.”

4. “Never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned. I’ve got a friend in Jesus. So I know that when I die, he’s gonna set me up with the Spirit in the sky.” (Credit: Norman Greenbaum’s song Spirit in the Sky). Note: this one will work better if you’re wearing ratty jeans, a tie-dyed t-shirt, and have a vacant look in your eyes.

5. “Tag; you’re it.” Then run away.

6. “I really can’t tell you, but you know those seven deadly sins? If anybody knew about it, they’d have to expand the list to eight.”

7. “I don’t remember exactly, but I think it involved a weedeater, a live chicken, and some peach preserves.” (Credit: Ray Stevens’ song It’s Me Again, Margaret)

8. “*%#*^&*!*&#^*#!!^!!!!!”

9. "I plan to post it on my blog tomorrow."

10. "I can't tell you, but believe this: the Southern Baptist Convention has not even dreamed of passing a resolution against it."

11. “My psychiatrist told me that if I talked about it, it would just set me off again.” Note: this one is more effective if you clinch your fists really tight and stop blinking.

12. “That’s a very good question. Now let me try to evade you.” (Credit: the late Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas)

13. “I’ll bet you can’t guess what I’m thinking.” Note: this one should be accompanied by a leer.

14. “I served as technical advisor for Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Gigli.”

15. “From a psychological perspective, I doubt you could handle the answer; from a theological perspective, I doubt that you have the depth to understand the question; from an anthropological perspective, I doubt that this discussion will in any way enhance this or any other culture; from a sociological perspective, I refuse to reduce the crises of my life to the standards set by our cultural mores; from a personal perspective, it’s none of your business; and from a physical perspective, I’m now too tired to talk any more about it.”

16. “I asked Jesus about that. He said he didn’t remember.”

17. “I don’t know, but at least I’ve never asked somebody a question as dumb as ‘What’s the biggest sin you’ve ever committed?’”


Sara Ruffin said...

Very entertaining, good one Daddy. But I think your biggest sin is bringing a great film like Gigli into this matter! (Just kidding)

Mike Ruffin said...


I'm sure that Bennifer (the first edition) would agree with you.

Joshua Ruffin said...

Brilliant. Now I know where I get my sense of humor AND brutally good looks.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Edwards will respond accordingly.. but I am impressed with your sin and it will contribute to mine which is gossip and I will tell the world... by the way a great blog....

Ken Smith

Don Yancey said...

Good list! Probably the biggest sins we've ever committed are found in the future. For us Christians, our smugness and insidious sense of niceness probably lead us to being much more like the Pharisee praying in the Temple than the Publican who prayed there, also. Confession is hard; genuine honesty is harder!