“How to be a sinner” isn’t advice on how to sin better. It’s a series of compassionate reflections on what it actually means to identify myself as a sinner, and to do so in a healthy way. Because how I identify myself is important, and the “sinner identity” can potentially be a problem: Is “wrong” at the core of my very being? What does it do to me, to be seen constantly as falling short? Isn’t there a good kind of self-love and self-care?

The claim of so much scripture and prayer is perhaps counter-intuitive: owning the “sinner identity” is a key component of a healthy life; it’s part of self-care; it’s part of my salvation. “How to be a sinner” aims to steer towards a healthy self-regard, and towards surrender to the endless love and mercy of God, who saves us precisely through and within our brokenness. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

About me: I’ve been teaching theology, spirituality, and the arts for around twenty years.

With my wife Patricia we have two flourishing children in their twenties.

A life-long musician, I’m a jazz bassist and I play out at least once a week. I conduct the church choir at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Yonkers, New York.

I also lead the Arvo Pärt Project.

I’ve been trying to work out this “sinner” thing, reflecting, writing, and speaking about it for several years now. Every time I’ve given a retreat on this theme, the reaction is uncommonly powerful. So I wrote a book, called “How to Be a Sinner,” available now from SVS Press.

See my personal website at peterbouteneff.com.