When I was challenged by a friend on what rules I had broken I was struggling to come up with much. I have the points to prove that I have sped in the past J; I left uni for a weekend without having permission; I occasionally left my classroom through the window; I might not have had all the mandatory elements in some of my services (though that was more likely to have been oversight L); I once went down the pub for lunch having told the kitchen I was staying in, and as a kid I nicked the odd bar of chocolate. Not really much to talk about over 50 odd years. Perhaps others will remind me of other things but I doubt there is much more.
So what you may say? Well, it left me with a view of sin as keeping the rules, and as I was good at keeping the rules I was left with an odd view of sin. As I have changed through my priestly formation I have come to understand sin much more as those things which damage me or others: the times that I have not done things for fear of what others think, when I have built masks to hide the real me. None of these things are against the "rules" and yet I think that they are more damaging in my attempt to live "life in all its fullness" (John 10:10 - Good News Bible) and they help me understand Jesus attack on the Pharisees. Joan Chittister writes:
It is so easy to make up rules and keep them so that we can feel good about doing something measurable in the spiritual life.http://www.eriebenedictines.org/benedict (changes daily - quote not there now).Now however I am struggling because sometimes my new understanding of sin means that I "have" to break the rules. But for someone who has no real experience of breaking rules this is a scary place to be, and my ME side tells me that it is dangerous as I haven't developed many skills in this space.
And if my Bishop is reading this, in the immortal words of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy:
I've got my towel with me!