Saturday, November 08, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
Capitalism and Poverty
I will also agree that change largely begins from the bottom up. Muhammad Yunus uses the image of a bonsai tree. The seed that grows into the tiny bonsai tree is the same seed that grows into the tall tree in the forest. The difference is that the bonsai grows from the limited foundation of the flower pot while the tall tree has the rich foundation of the forest bed. The poor are bonsai people. By improving the soil in which they grow, by instituting property rights and rule of law, by including them in networks of productivity and exchange, they too can flourish as people in wealthier nations have.There is also a moral argument to be made here. The deeply redistributive acts in the Bible (widows and orphans, etc.) were a) mostly about the giver and b) given to those that had no possibility of producing on their own. Widows and orphans were excluded totally from productive work. Those that could produce were urged to do so and widows that could remarry were urged to do so.
In the end, economic systems of all types are upheld in the Bible. That is, I believe, because God is focused on us and knows that when we get it together, whatever economic system is in place will work justly. The issue for us is what economic system produces the most justice "while we are yet sinners." If we are measuring justice by the greatest wealth spread the farthest, it is pretty hard to beat capitalism. Figures don't lie.
If there is something wrong in "income inequality" it's because of how people behave (sin), not the economic system they are engaged in. The church should be focused less on developing an economic system and more on developing people.
church economics evangelism
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Thursday, November 06, 2014
When our core identity is determined, not by what we do for a living, but by our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, everything in life shifts. Work, whether paid or unpaid, continues to matter, but mainly as a way of offering ourselves in service to God and then to the world as his representatives. My decisions about how to invest my time and money will be guided by God's truth and his eternal values rather than how they might enhance my professional success. Most of all, my core sense of being will depend, not on how successful I am at work, but on the undeniable and unchangeable fact that I am beloved by God, that I belong to him, that he is my Lord, Savior, and friend, and that he will never leave or forsake me.Christianity should absorb us totally. That means we have to follow Christ, even to death. It measn we must let go of who we are to grab hold of who Jesus is.
Yet we live in an age when we seem to think the ultimate is to be happy with ourselves. Jesus tells us ourselves simply do not matter. Are we really willing to subsume our identity into his? Are we really willing to let go totally?
discipleship letting go
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
As Hendershott and White show, the days of seminaries dominated by various forms of psychobabble are, in the main, over.I wish I could say that about my church! I read that sentence and it makes me ask a single question, "Are we serious about being God's church or not?" Concessions to anything from psychological thought to "cultural relevance" is about those things and not the mission God has actually given us. Are we serious?
In the end, God does not care about worship music - He cares that we worship Him. He is also plain that the sharing of psalms and music is but one part of worship, and that to do so without the other aspects of worship is to be a clanging gong. Are we serious?
Jesus was plain that his mission was to make us holy, not "self-realized." He made it plain that the path to such holiness was not in finding ourselves, but in denying ourselves as he did. Are we serious?
Jesus made plain what love is. He condemned where necessary, but loved all. Do we dare think Jesus did not love the Pharisees. Tot he contrary his love for them demanded that he decry their sins in the strongest possible terms. That is in fact part of love. Are we serious?
I want to be!
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
He goes on to suggest that living from the heart can only come from a heart that has tasted how good the Lord is and how energizing it can be to be still before the Lord.There is real wisdom here, but I find it odd to talk about this in terms of "priorities." You see, making quiet contemplative time with God a "priority" indicates that we, somehow, have control over this thing, and that means we are not letting Jesus be Lord of our life.
I find that my own heart aches for this kind of priority. I have indeed tasted how good the Lord is and want spiritual priorities to become progressively more dominant, but when I am busy I must confess that this does not happen. Work not God so easily becomes my priority.
Priorities we set - God is not an option.
priorities quiet time
Monday, November 03, 2014
It’s easy to affirm the goodness of God in the abstract. It’s easy to affirm it when things are going well. But when your children are going backwards on a daily basis, it becomes much harder. When the worship leader goes for a bit of call-and-response — “God is good, all the time, and all the time …” — it can by a real physical challenge to squeeze out the words you know come next: “… God is good!” Singing becomes a fight between the truths you know and the emotions you feel. Pastoral ministry involves you exhorting others to hold onto things you’re struggling to hold onto yourself.I find it fascinating that he proclaims "theology" as the only way through the dilemma and then ends by relying on experience. I find it troubling that his theological analysis ignores our fallen nature. In this latter statement I am not referring to a quid pro quo sort of thing like his children's autism resulting from specific sin in his life. Rather I am referring to the fact that we are fallen. the world is fallen. hence bad stuff happens. It's simple really. God has little to do with it - it's about us and our fallen nature.
Over time, the only way through this is theological: you have to wrestle with what it actually means for the psalmist (no stranger to suffering himself!) to say that Yahweh is good.
We may well not understand why God has done it, of course. Job didn’t either. But we can be confident, based on Scripture and on our experience, that as sure as milk is white, Yahweh is good. Taste and see!
But back to experience. Over-thinking, doing too much theology, this will only lead one down bad roads. We have a penchant for thinking ourselves into box canyons that only deepen the depression and alienate us from God. But to experience God is to know His goodness, regardless of circumstances.
When I am angry with my wife and I think about it to much I just get angrier. But when I look at her and know her love for me and the love I have for her, the anger melts away. There are some things we just cannot think our way through. This guy admits as much, but then insists on more. Speaking of bax canyons....
experience goodness theology