A brother sinned, and the presbyter ordered him to go out of church. But Abba Bessarion rose up and went out with him, saying: “I too am a sinner.”

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers 9.2

The Christian confession that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that we ought to remember this fact with regards to ourselves daily can often strike people (including Christians themselves) as overly pessimistic. But is such a claim one of pessimism? Is it necessarily like the dreary, uncharitable (but common) caricature of Calvinism? I, at least, do not think so, and I doubt Abba Bessarion would either. Continue reading