Giving guilt its due

spuffordWhen someone says, as my fellow ordained UMC pastor Jason Micheli has said, that God doesn’t care “at all” about our sin, I disagree not simply because the Bible says otherwise—which, granted, is reason enough—but because it doesn’t do justice (literally) to our sin and guilt—my sin and my guilt, thank you very much.

In his most recent book, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Emotional Sense, English author (and Anglican Christian) Francis Spufford gives voice to the way that sin and guilt have made him feel, which is exactly the way it makes me feel. And no one, certainly not Jason Micheli or Herbert McCabe or Thomas Aquinas, can convince me that I feel this way without justification—and that from God’s perspective, everything is A-OK. I know everything is not A-OK about me. And the fact that it isn’t matters to God. And by God’s grace he’s working to change me. And it hurts sometimes. And I’m glad it hurts because, like good old Bactine, that’s how you know it’s healing you.

For someone like Micheli to pat me on the head and say, “The way you make yourself right with God is to recognize that things are already right,” is no comfort at all. It doesn’t ring true to my experience.

And I’m obviously not alone in feeling this way.

Regardless, I’ll quote the relevant passage from Spufford. He later includes enlightening illustrations about the lives of penitent slave-trader and “Amazing Grace” author John Newton and British Field Marshal Montgomery. Spufford’s message is that guilt is a good, necessary, and inescapable fact of human existence. It’s not an overreaction on our part: we ought to feel guilty, even as we avail ourselves of the resources of Christian faith that enable us to live with it. (Note: Like it or not, Spufford uses profanity in his book, and in the following excerpt. What we might call “original sin,” he calls the “Human Propensity to F— Things Up,” which he abbreviates as HPtFtU in his book.)

He precedes this quote by talking about the recent popularity of serial killers on TV, in movies, and in novels. These stories appeal to us because they place evil safely outside of ourselves.

But HPtFtU is in here, not out there. The bad news is bad news about us, not just about other people. And when the conviction of it settles in, when we reach one of those states of our lives where the sorrow of our failure hangs in our chests like a weight, and waking up in the morning is painful because every time the memory of what’s wrong has to ooze back over the lovely blankness of the night—you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever been there—then, the idea that it would help to cling to a cozy sense of victimhood seems as silly as it would be to try and fight off the flu by waving a toy lightsaber. The bad news, at those moments, feels like the whole truth about you. It isn’t. It is only truth about you. But the way back to the rediscovery of the rest of what’s true begins with the admission that you really are guilty of the particular bit of HPtFtU which is making you feel like shit. If you don’t give the weight in your chest its true name you can’t even begin. It’s guilt that drags at your steps, it’s guilt that paints the morning black. In my experience, in times of intense misery it’s letting your guilt be guilt that at least stops you needing to accuse yourself; and in better times, in times of more or less cheerful ordinary muddling through, I’ve found that admitting theres’s some black in the color-chart of my psyche doesn’t invite the blot of dark to swell, or give a partial truth more gloomy power over me than it should have, but the opposite. Admitting there’s some black in the mixture makes it matter less. It makes it easier to pay attention to the mixedness of the rest. It helps you stop wasting your time on denial, and therefore helps you stop ricocheting between unrealistic self-praise and unrealistic self-blame. It helps you be kind to yourself.[†]

Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Emotional Sense (New York: HarperOne, 2013), 34-5.

4 thoughts on “Giving guilt its due”

  1. Must have been very difficult to compose such a rambling bit of unsatisfying observation. Not yours Rev. White! I mean dear Mr. Spuffords.
    Reading it was like watching a long video of a birthday boy unwrapping a present placed in a small box wrapped up tight inside many others….and, at the end, never getting to see the present itself.
    Which is to say, unsatisfying.
    I’m faced with guilt over long past crimes every day. As a Christian I know I was forgiven these sins. But still they haunt me.
    It does God and ourselves no justice for us to simply come to an accommodation of “…some black in the color chart of (our) psyche…”.
    It’s there of course, but it is not a kindness to us to simply accept it.
    A sharp awareness of, and a quick check of it, would seem to be hindered by Mr. Spuffords attitude.
    And yes, he needs to ditch the coarse language.

  2. Francis Schaeffer said our guiltiness is “true moral guilt.” Guilt feelings can be scorched over, like the consciences of those wicked antagonistas in a fascinating telenovela; or patented, like the conscience of a United Methodist expatiating on why we should embrace same-sex marriage no matter what. We are truly guilty before God, whether we feel something or not, and only God provides the remedy.

    1. And I can’t comprehend the denial of the foundation of guilt—that it’s not real or unimportant.

  3. Brent this is not for posting in your comments. It is the only email I have for you and this is for your info only.
    Bob Williams … Linda’s husband

    Now, more than ever before, it is important to get one’s spiritual house in order. Now, more than ever before, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to practice your Christian faith without experiencing serious consequences. And to compound these issues, many pastors have forsaken their calling and have betrayed their flock.

    The purpose of this article is to call attention to the major failings of the modern American church, identify how your pastor could be a threat to your freedom and even your safety and most importantly, address the question of whether or not your church will be turned into a FEMA camp? Is there anything that you can do about this?

    Your Pastor and 30 Pieces of Silver

    Pastor’s have let Judas’ fate become their own.
    Pastor’s have let Judas’ fate become their own.

    We all know the story about how Judas betrayed Jesus for a relatively small amount of money. Today, almost all churches place money over spreading the true word of God. If you doubt the veracity of this statement then ask yourself when was the last time that your pastor spoke to you about the evils of abortion, Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetus body parts for profit, our government’s wars of occupation for corporate profit and the unwarranted attacks upon Christianity by the present administration? If your pastor isn’t speaking to you about the evils of these and other contemporary issues in American society, presented within the framework of Biblical doctrine, then you are not attending a church that preaches the word of God.

    In Timothy 6:10, it says that the “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”. And your pastors have sold out their flock for a small tax break that we refer to as a 501-C-3 tax exemption. However, when a church travels down this slippery slope, it ultimately sells its soul to the devil.

    501-d (1)501Is your church a friend or foe with regard to your salvation? Is your church a 501-C-3 tax exempt church? Is your church an agent of the government? If your church leadership does not condemn anything controversial, no matter how antithetical to the word of God, you are not worshiping in a Christian church. If your church is a 501-C-3 tax exempt church, your church is not a church of God.

    If your church is a 501(c)(3) organization, then your church has a significant financial motivation to not truthfully interpret the true message of the Bible. The tax exempt status of being a 501(c)(3) organization is the other cornerstone of this shift away from allegiance to God and towards worshiping our new Savior, the federal government. Unless I missed the fact that God personally rewrote sections of the Bible, your pastor’s failure to stand up to the liberalism of the New World Order should have tipped you off that something was terribly wrong with your church.

    According to the Internal Revenue Service, no substantial part of a religious, tax exempt church may engage in any activity which may be attempting to influence legislation and the church may not intervene in political campaigns. In other words, if the government decides to secretly disappear dissidents under the NDAA and/or Jade Helm, the church must remain silent or risk losing its tax exemption. If the government continues to expand its infanticide policies by extending the murder of babies to include post-delivery abortion, then the church must remain silent. If the government engages in any heinous, genocidal act, such as the murder of 1.2 million Iraqi’s, under the false pretense of looking for weapons of mass destruction, the church must remain silent or risk losing the tax advantages for being a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization in a case of money over God.

    The Clergy Response Team

    Serving government over God!
    Serving government over God!

    Many of your 501-C-3 pastors have gone so far as to put on the uniform of the enemy and it is called the Clergy Response Team. The Clergy Response Team falls under the umbrella series of programs known as DHS’ controlled National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NOVAD) which is a non-profit, member organization which shares knowledge and resources throughout a disaster. The organization helps to prepare, respond, recover and to mitigate the damage caused by some unknown disaster presumably which lies in the future of humanity.

    Amazingly, NOVAD claims to be a faith-based coalition which is structured as a non-governmental organization and operates on a national scale and is supported by tax dollars funneled to the DHS.

    Instantly, Bible believing Christians should smell a rat. Since when, in the modern era, has the federal government ever sponsored organized religion? The answer is not since well before the advent of the atheist activist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was successful in banning prayer in the public schools in 1963. Then why would the government suddenly fund and support a “faith-based organization” on a national scale? The simple answer is that Homeland Security is seeking to control our churches and ministers, before the impending economic train wreck comes to fruition inside of America. DHS desperately is seeking to control all Christians through the perversion of Romans 13 and this is one of two cornerstones in this movement designed to control Christian leaders. And this government foothold into the control of our churches begins with accepting the 501-C-3 tax exempt status which gives the government license to control the message and to ultimately pervert the word of God. There can only be one outcome for this kind of training, making the people docile when martial law is rolled out.

    Mark 8:39 clearly states, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” This page must be absent from almost all the pastor’s Bibles in today’s pulpits. Mark possessed the courage to pay a price for his faithfulness. This kind of faithfulness should be embraced by all who claim to lead our congregations in the name of God. The irony of the situation can be accurately expressed with the following gross misinterpretation of the Bible.

    The Bastardization of Romans 13

    DHS now demands that the pastors preach a bastardized version of Romans 13 during times of declared national emergency. Does your pastor command you to follow the will of the government because it is your Christian duty to do so under Romans 13? In the following paragraphs it will be revealed that your pastor is likely bought and paid for and you will be told how to prepare for martial law, “quarantining” and firearms confiscation and that it is your “Christian duty” to comply with the government.

    When the Pope addresses the United , on September 15, and tells all Catholics worldwide to submit to the New World Order under Romans 13, will you obey this anti-Christian directive?
    jesus and the money changersThe modern interpretation of Romans 13 is pure blasphemy. This scripture has been morphed into a doctrine espousing the “Divine Right of Kings” in which God has somehow chosen a king to ruthlessly rule over a people and it is incumbent upon the people to accept their “God-given fate”, The flock are commanded to “…submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” This false interpretation is nothing but a divine coronation of a ruthless, self-serving government and Christians are expected to capitulate and honor the same kind of thievery, lawlessness and murder which inspired Jesus to expel the moneychangers from the Temple.

    When Martial Law Comes to America, What Role Will Your Pastor Play?

    Eight months ago, I interviewed Pastor Walter Mansfield by phone and the content related to this interview sent chills up and down my spine when I asked him about the Clergy Response Team.

    Pastor Mansfield was recruited to become a member of the Clergy Response Team which would operate under the control of NOVAD and DHS. Mansfield’s revelations about his experiences are stunning and concerning at the same time.

    Pastor Mansfield attended several briefings and he could barely believe his ears. He learned of the government’s plan to enact martial law as well as to implement forced population relocations. Mansfield emphasized that when martial law is enacted, the enforcement would be immediate. In other words, family members will be separated from each other and part of the training that the clergy received was how to comfort separated family members.

    Pastor Mansfield emphasized that the FEMA/DHS drills were predicated on bioterrorism. This is exactly what my relocated FEMA source told me before he and his family left. The pastors were trained to go to homes were people refused to be relocated by the authorities and their immediate job was to convince the reluctant to willingly go to the relocation camps. Ostensibly, this was to be done in lieu of sending in the SWAT teams.

    I asked Mansfield if FEMA camps were real and he stated that much of the clergy training focused around this scenario of pastors operating within the forced relocation centers. The main goal of a pastor assigned to a FEMA was to bring order and encourage compliance with DHS requests, hence, the emphasis on Romans 13.

    The pastors were forced to sign non-disclosure. Interesting, the pastors were told not to quote Scripture. The DHS document which was prepared for the pastors clearly stated that Scripture had been used to “oppress” people in the past and the presenters strongly discouraged the its use. Please see the following excerpt from one of the DHS training manuals:

    Healing Scripture and Prayer In the Pastoral Crisis Intervention

    “During a time of crisis people do go through a “crisis of faith.”
    Sometime quick mention of God and scripture may not be helpful. As we all know the Scripture has been used to oppress, dominate and at the same time used for healing and reconciliation- renewing of relationship with God and people. If the pastor senses it is appropriate to use the scripture and prayer, it must carefully be done for healing of victims not to uphold pastoral authority.” (Page 14)
    In other words, all legitimate pastoral authority was abrogated by the pastors who participated in the roundup of American citizens.
    Also on page 14 of the same training document, pastors were admonished to avoid “Unhealthy God talk….” Specifically pastors are ordered to avoid using references to God when helping people cope with the loss of a loved one:
    “4. God must have needed him/her more than you.”
    “5. God never gives more than we can handle.“
    Pastor Mansfield also revealed that pastors will be issued badges under the Clergy Response Team program. Any pastor not displaying the badge, indicating that they have been trained under these guidelines, will not be permitted into the established and designated “DHS safety zones”. This reminds me of the banishment of religious figures from Plymouth Colony who, in good conscience, refused to go along with some of the extremism of that day. Along these lines, the Clergy Response Team is also a “Kool-Aid drinking program”. Pastors are absolutely forbidden to publicly to speak about any aspect of the program. If you were to ask your pastor if they are a FEMA trained pastor, they will not likely tell you.

    Disturbingly, Pastor Mansfield reiterated several times that the number one job of these pastors is to calm down people and encourage their compliance within the people’s new surroundings.

    Pastor Mansfield also stated that pastors will be utilized as informants. This violates the legal privilege of confidentiality between pastor and church-goer, that is currently recognized by law. All church-goers can no longer trust the sanctity of personal confessions and revelations made to pastors, priests or rabbis’. This one illegal act by DHS completely undermines the Christian Church in America!


    At one time in American history, churches were viewed as sanctuaries for the downtrodden. That is not the case any longer for most churches and their pastors. Most of the medium to large size churches are completely compromised and are serving as virtual agents of the government. Pastor Mansfield told me that as many as 28,000 pastors have been recruited by the Clergy Response Team. Other estimates place this number as high as a 100,000 pastors have forsaken their duty God and have sold out to the dark side in order to save a little bit of tax money.

    If what I am reading is correct and the Pope is declaring a New World Order on September 15 and the global currency reset will follow in a month and your money will be devalued by 90%, what will you do? Please allow me to suggest that if these people are correct in their projections, you have one month to obtain what you need to survive. Secondly, you should scrutinize your place of worship and leave if they are not preaching the unadulterated word of God. Form home Bible study groups, take back the salvation of your soul. This life is temporary, hell is forever!

    Is your church going to turn into a FEMA camp? For most of us, it already has and the prisoner is your soul. DHS may not build bars around your church and confine your body, but the move on your soul has already been made. Exercise the free will to say no to this illegitimate authority.

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