I’ve written it before and I’m writing it again. As life around me has become complex, the remedy for the complexities have become simple: trust in the Lord with all your heart. This has brought great peace and joy to me as I’ve learned in a very pro-active and productive environment that I am not …
I posted a blog entry at the Christian Post recently. The reported death of Bin Laden generated crowds of people on the street wrapped in American flags and cheering. A casual look at the reaction to this reaction revealed to me that many people shared my apprehension with such a response. Different reasons for the …
In part one of this essay I put forward two great challenges to Christianity that apologetics cannot answer. To illustrate the weight of this matter, consider the fact that not too long ago I wrote an entry called, “Apologetics is the Answer to Everything.” I stand by that post, still. These challenges have more to …
This was posted some time ago elsewhere and I wanted it on this blog for reference sake. Thanks to all who commented and read my last note. It was suggested that I hadn’t yet proposed any solutions to the crisis in the Church. It is true, I hinted at it, and suggested that a study …
The disciples argued with each other about who would be greatest. Think about that. Not only grown men, but the disciples. These guys were hand-picked by God Himself for the task of being the closest to Jesus and they were arguing about which one of them would be better than the other. Time and time …
If our gatherings are not marked by love- that is, attending to the genuine needs, desires, and wants of those around us, rather than seeking our own fulfillments- they are ‘nothing.’ As far as I am concerned, I would be happy to endure just about any kind of ‘worship’ form if I saw a community that was geared to look out for each other, even to the point of laying down their lives for each other (1 John 3:16).
Now, of course there is some attending to needs in the way gatherings are structured. It isn’t an entirely loveless endeavor, and of course the whole work of the Church does not occur one hour on one day a week. You wouldn’t know this from listening to those engaged in the ‘Worship’ Wars, though. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read something by either side where ‘love’ was mentioned at all.
The title of this post does not do the matter justice. The word ‘abuse’ is too mild, and it might be even more accurate to say that in actual fact the sweeping trend within Christendom is that there is outright plain ignorance on what these terms mean. The charge only matters at all to those …
God has chosen to operate through people and tangible, physical stuff like sound waves (the Word), water (baptism), and bread and wine (the Eucharist). (Some will object to baptism and the Eucharist, but at least people and the Word should be conceded). To attack such things in the name of spirituality is to attack that which the Spirit is actually using. In fact, this line of attack sounds an awful lot like Gnosticism, which considers matter inherently corrupted and only the spiritual things pure.
As a quick, pointed example, the accusation that the Christian community abhors all things concerning sex isn’t an entirely fabricated. There are indeed Christians who will talk about sex as though it were some base, physical act that only serves to get in the way of spiritual pursuits. But God made us as sexual beings, and marriage was God’s way of creating godly children (Mal. 2). One gets the idea for some Christians that God permits people to have sex, but only reluctantly- so we should try very hard not to enjoy it and participate in it only as duty requires. Yea, compare and contrast that with the Song of Solomon, why don’t you!
But sometimes they just get all in a fit all the same if you include people as agents carrying out God’s mission. That is when you see the ‘hyper-defense’ on display, as if by acknowledging the fact that God uses people to carry out his will, that takes away from the credit that God rightly deserves.
The simple fact is that the Biblical witness is pretty clear: God does tend to use people to carry out his plans on earth. He could have delivered the Israelites from Egypt without involving Moses at all. Sure enough, it was by God’s power that the people were delivered, but he still brought Moses in. Then of course Jesus appointed disciples to go out after his death and resurrection to spread the word. God certainly could have just personally appeared to each and every person on the planet and delivered his message directly. For that matter, he could speak into our minds and be done with it. But he doesn’t do that. Not only does he work through ‘means,’ but he works through people- that is, people themselves are means.
I was reading CS Lewis’s The Four Loves and came across the quote below. Obviously, Lewis is not specifically addressing universal health care or liberalism or the question of using the government to administer love. Even Christians can be found thinking that it is a noble expression of a loving society to have the government do the loving… and this with no apparent thought to the actual effect that this ‘loving’ will have on the people ‘loved’ and the attitude it fuels in the people-government doing the ‘loving.’ The most important thing seems to be that, well, people’s intentions are good, and it’s better to do something rather than nothing. Here is the quote:
This [is] Gift-love, but one that needs to give; therefore needs to be needed. But the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. Thus a heavy task is laid upon this Gift-love. It must work towards its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous. The hour when we can say “They need me no longer” shall be our reward. But the instinct, simply in its own nature, has no power to fulfil this law. The instinct desires the good of its object, but not simply; only the good it can itself give. A much higher love- a love which desires the good of the object as such, from whatever source that good comes- must step in and help or tame the instinct before it can make the abdication. And of course it often does. But where it does not, the ravenous need to be needed will gratify itself either by keeping its objects needy or by inventing for them imaginary needs. It will do this all the more ruthlessly because it thinks (in one sense truly) that it is a Gift-love and therefore regards itself as “unselfish.” (pgs 50-51)
There’s a lot of churches out there. I have been a church-goer for 30 years. I’ve been serious about Christianity. I’m practical. I’m simple. My seriousness about Christianity simply means (see? simple) as much as is within me, I am devoted and dedicated to the Lord. I’m not a bandwagon jumper. I hate them. I’ve …
Everyone wants to be valued. Everyone wants to be accepted. It’s the way we’re wired. God values us. God accepts us. He’s the one that did the wiring. Yet, we, the very proponents of the Good News can fall prey to defining and confining with conditional love (which isn’t really love as defined in 1 …