Monday, 31 March 2008

Nina Simone - Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat's Heavenly)

My daughter sent me this as a video response to 'The Easter Song' by Keith Green. It's a remix of the old black spiritual 'sinner man' sung by Nina Simone. Despite the original meaning of the 'spiritual' the video here focuses on the seven deadly sins which are:
1.Pride 2.Envy 3.Gluttony 4.Lust 5.Anger 6.Greed 7.Sloth.

These were originally thought up in the sixth century by Pope Gregory and issued to the church. This year the Vatican has issued an additional seven classed as "social sins."
"You offend God not only by stealing, taking the Lord's name in vain or coveting your neighbour's wife, but also by wrecking the environment, carrying out morally debatable experiments that manipulate DNA or harm embryos," said [Bishop Gianfranco] Girotti, who is responsible for the body that oversees confessions.
The seven social sins are:
1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
2. "Morally dubious" experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty

What do you think of the old and new ones?

AS mentioned above the video is not based on the original spiritual. The original song is really speaking of the 'sinner man' who all his life has been alienated from God and doing his own thing. 'On that day' in the song is the day when he dies, or the 'Day of Judgement' when he tries to find refuge by running to the hills and the sea away from it, but they don’t offer any refuge.

Sadly it is all too late and his time has finally run out. It reminds me of John Bunyan's book ‘Pilgrim Progress’ when Christian, the main character of the story, warns his friends and neighbours, while they are alive and have the chance, to 'flee from the wrath to come'.

We have but one life to live and 'it is appointed to man once to die, then comes the judgement'. We have only one life to flee from the wrath to come and flee to God alone as our refuge. He invites us today, whatever we have done, be it great or small, one or all of the seven deadly sins, new or old, even the likes of murder or adultery are not beyond his forgiveness.

Though our sins are as scarlet he promises to make those who respond, white as snow. Today while we still have the chance He calls us to flee to him as our refuge to be forgiven, healed and restored.
As the writer of the famous hymn cries out:

‘Rock of Ages cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee’.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post and video.

Anonymous said...

Brief History of Sin

Now is it bihovely thyng to telle whiche been the sevene deedly synnes, this is to seyn, chiefaynes of synnes. Alle they renne in o lees, but in diverse manneres. Now been they cleped chieftaynes, for as muche as they been chief and spryng of alle othere synnes.
--Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

People have always been immoral, shiftless, self-gratifying, good-for-nothing shits. But for ages, humankind struggled to find a conceptual system to operationalize their spiritual shortcomings. The challenge was formidable: the system had to be complex and inclusive enough to implicate a vast range of disgusting behavior, yet simple and memorable enough to inspire guilt in an illiterate peasant.

According to Sacred Origins of Profound Things, by Charles Panati, Greek monastic theologian Evagrius of Pontus first drew up a list of eight offenses and wicked human passions:. They were, in order of increasing seriousness: gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness, anger, acedia, vainglory, and pride. Evagrius saw the escalating severity as representing increasing fixation with the self, with pride as the most egregious of the sins. Acedia (from the Greek "akedia," or "not to care") denoted "spiritual sloth."

In the late 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great reduced the list to seven items, folding vainglory into pride, acedia into sadness, and adding envy. His ranking of the Sins' seriousness was based on the degree from which they offended against love. It was, from most serious to least: pride, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony, and lust. Later theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas, would contradict the notion that the seriousness of the sins could be ranked in this way. The term "covetousness" has historically been used interchangeably with "avarice" in accounts of the Deadly Sins. In the seventeenth century, the Church replaced the vague sin of "sadness" with sloth.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Church hierarchy emphasized teaching all lay people the Deadly Sins and Heavenly Virtues. Other spiritual manuals embellished on this tradition. Gerson presents a list of Contrary Virtues in his ABC des simples gens, which was derived from the Psychomatica, or Battle for the Soul, a fifth-century epic poem by Prudentius. He believed these virtues would help counteract temptation toward the Deadly Sins.

According to The Picture Book of Devils, Demons and Witchcraft, by Ernst and Johanna Lehner, each of the Sins was associated with a specific punishment in Hell. I once saw a set of 16th-century engravings by George Pencz that used animals in their depictions of the Sins. The prints also used women to symbolize all the Sins, which was probably okay in the sociopolitical climate of the 16th century but probably wouldn't be encouraged nowadays.

Sin Punishment in Hell Animal Color
Pride broken on the wheel Horse Violet
Envy put in freezing water Dog Green
Anger dismembered alive Bear Red
Sloth thrown in snake pits Goat Light Blue
Greed put in cauldrons of boiling oil Frog Yellow
Gluttony forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes Pig Orange
Lust smothered in fire and brimstone Cow Blue


Anonymous said...



What it is: Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Why you do it: Well-meaning elementary school teachers told you to "believe in yourself."

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be broken on the wheel.

Associated symbols & suchlike: Pride is linked with the horse and the color violet.


Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Pride "inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin (1,77) ... the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His


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