…it’s generally true that we become who we’re told we are. If we’re told over and over again that we are worthless, that we are born into sin and that sin is our main nature and characteristic, then that becomes the dominant self understanding that drives our lives. So consequently we look for someone to redeem us and take that sin away from us. In that context, we understand Jesus as having this very specific role to save us from ourselves and from a state and condition that we could not help. But I think that’s a very limited understanding of human nature and of Jesus. In the end, that approach is ultimately unhelpful for most people. I don’t think that inspires or ennobles us and I don’t think it motivates us to live a higher life. I think it perpetuates a self-image that is ultimately destructive and unhelpful. Think about this as a parent. If you tell your children over and over again: You’re a failure! You’re a disappointment! Can you expect children to grow up and be healthy? No, and yet we expect that steady diet in many of our churches. Then, we wonder why a lifetime in this kind of church doesn’t lead us all to sainthood. I think that approach to preaching actually pushes us away from sainthood.