We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
Yes, we are all sinners and it is incumbent upon us to confess our sins and seek forgiveness. The current situation in the Methodist church (as well as past experiences in other churches) encourages me to add that that also means we should not celebrate our sins.
I never believed the Christian version of thought crime. We all think a wide variety of things. So can a person be a "sinner" simply for thinking a bad thought? To me, this sounds disturbingly like communist programming. The Chinese, in particular, had soul-cleansing meetings, where people were supposed to admit the crimes against the revolution, which they had in their hearts. Only pure communists go to that big utopia in the sky.
Nobody told me that; I figured it out myself. Take sex for example. Sex is pretty much what makes the world go around; Sex is how all species propagate, not just humans. Lusting after the opposite sex is hard wired into our lizard brains - especially men's. It's just incompatible with human nature to preach that we're going to hell for thinking about sex and I'm certainly not going to pluck out my eye for looking at a woman, either.
I think Jesus' admonitions about not lusting after women or arguing with neighbors (brothers or sisters) were meant to strip away a smug attitude among some people that as long as they didn't attack and molest a woman or they hid the fact that they hated another person, their appearance of holiness before God was hypocrisy. His counsel was aspirational. I don't think he claimed we all would be successful in attaining that goal. He was a paragon of self mastery and wanted us to make an effort in that direction as best as we could.