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Sin at Easter: Not a Peep from the Pulpit

USA Today examines whether a "notion of sin" has been lost.

Easter lilies, marshmallow peeps, and sin will be upon us this Sunday.

To be more precise, a "notion of sin" might be a common theme in the pews this Sunday, as USA Today describes in a piece today. "Without an idea of sin, Easter is meaningless," Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll tells Cathy Lynn Grossman.

Grossman writes about the Pope's recent "Seven Deadlies" (which David Neff writes about just below). A new survey by Ellison Research showed that 87 percent of U.S. adults believe that sin exists, defined as "something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective."

She contrasts pastors like Texas pastor Joel Osteen, who doesn't mention sin in his TV sermons or Your Best Life Now, with New York pastor Tim Keller, who says he provides an explanation for what sin actually is.

"They do get the idea of branding, of taking a word or term and filling it with your own content, so I have to rebrand the word 'sin,' " Keller tells Grossman. "Around here it means self-centeredness, the acorn from which it all grows. Individually, that means 'I live for myself, for my own glory and happiness, and I'll work for your happiness if it helps me.' Communally, self-centeredness is destroying peace and justice in the world, tearing the net of interwovenness, the fabric of humanity."

While non-religious fluff novalties like peeps remain quite popular, Rev. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville wonders whether pastors will make a sin connection this Sunday.

"All the Easter eggs and the Easter bunny are even more extraneous to the purpose of Easter than Santa is to Christmas," Mohler says. "At least Santa Claus was based on a saint. I wonder whether even some Christian churches are making the connection between Christ's death and resurrection and victory over sin - the linchpin doctrine of Christianity."

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