Have recently been reading John Newton's Cardiphonia. This is quite an amazing collection of letters. Despite my hesitations to affirm his theology (which I don't see a clear picture of yet, but I suspect is too Lutheran for me) I am hypnotized by his ruthless honesty. Amazing that he wrote in the 18th century in England! His self-lacerating and raw description of his mind and actions reads very modern, the key difference being that today people affirm their depravity in a vacuum of ideals, safe in a cozy nihilism of the impossibility of great virtue and the illusion of meta-narratives. Newton, of course, does not- he has mountain high, crystalline ideals and is a follower and worshipper of Christ, sinless lover of humanity and unimpeded incarnation of God's very own wisdom and Word. This makes his ruthless sin exposure truly laudable and bracing, especially when one considers that he was also writing as a Pastor!
All of this has inspired me to take a harder look at my own sins special and habitual, which are sadly numerous despite my tendency toward Pelagian hopes for my own moral accomplishments. This is spurred on by watching a relative of mine, now in his 60's, suffering from a series of humiliating and painful develeopments in his life which unfortunately follow straightforwardly and predictavly from the sins he has nurtured in his breast for decades. It reminded me of CS Lewis' The Great Divorce, with its depictions of the crooked, lost souls we make for ourselves and prefer, in the end, to the heaven whose price is humility, honesty, and the abandonment of our obsessive drives. How well, I wondered, do I really know my sins and their likely results? How well do I see the shape of my life? Perhaps it is time to sit down with oen and paper and huny myself before I am hunted.