Thanks as always to Eric L for the link help..support him at top right…
Thanks as always to Eric L for the link help..support him at top right…
Money is something that we are not supposed to bring up in a polite conversation. Yet, the Bible constantly deals with the inner spirit of slavery that is the result of an idolatrous attachment to wealth. “If riches increase, set not your heart on them,” counsels the psalmist.
Our Lord saw the grip that wealth can have upon a person. He knew that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” which is precisely why he commanded his followers, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth”. Note, he is not saying that the heart should or should not be where the treasure is located. He is simply stating the plain fact that wherever you find treasure, there you will also find the heart. That can mean different things for different people. Yet the truth of his assertion belongs to all of us. Tell me what you value most and I will tell you where your heart is. Yet the search for treasure and the heart can sometimes have a surprising result. When the Roman persecutors asked St. Lawrence to produce the treasure of the Church, he brought in the poor of the city and said, “Here are the treasures of the Church”. In so doing, he revealed the location of his heart.
I wonder, what treasure would reveal the location of our hearts today? What is the treasure of the Church? Is it in our bank accounts and our endowments? Is it in our buildings and institutions? Perhaps it is in our institutions, or our radio stations, or our Christian cable networks… or perhaps, in some places, we might find our treasure and our hearts in the midst of “the least of these” , Our Lord’s brethren.
Most often, our treasure is literal. Jesus exhorted the rich young ruler not just to have an inner attitude of detachment from his possessions, but to literally to abandon all his possessions if he wanted the kingdom of God. He counseled people who came seeking God, “Sell your possessions, and give alms: provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail…” He told the parable of the rich farmer whose life centered on hoarding – we might call him prudent or an investor – but Jesus called him a fool. Like the merchant in search of a single fine pearl, we should be willing to sell all that we have that we might gain its superlative beauty. He calls all who would follow him to a joyful life of carefree unconcern for possessions: “Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.”
These are the “hard sayings” of our Lord – the ones we try not to hear.
Yet, these are the very words that have so often brought forth the “lilies of the field” in the midst of the Church’s barren waste. They are the radiant flowers we know by name: Antony of the Desert, Benedict of Nursia, Augustine of Hippo, Gregory the Great, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich, the Wesley brothers, holy John Keble, Charles de Foucault, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and countless unnamed and unknown saints through the ages.
May God please to bring forth such beauty in our midst today by opening our ears to hear these “hard sayings” anew.
1. The Supreme Court ruled that a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding had been discriminated against for his religious beliefs by state agencies. The court did NOT rule that any such decision to refuse services due to religious beliefs would be likewise protected…in fact, the court was clear to say it would be determined on a case by case basis.
They effectively punted the big decision down the road. That’s why news agencies are reporting this as a “narrow” decision…and why you should stop mocking the headlines because the vote was 7-2…
2. What structural changes will the Southern Baptist Convention adopt in light of the Paige Patterson debacle? None. When independence is the greater virtue than accountability the only change agents are empty pews…
3. Never forget that the basis of American Christianity is not the Bible, but the free market…numbers are what matters…
4. After seeing Facebook this morning, I think our biggest national crisis may be reading comprehension…
5. What does “Focus On the Family” think about refugee families being separated at the border? Asking for a friend…
6. I think the pendulum is swinging back against the forced acceptance of all these sexual identities other than that which is traditionally the norm. The challenge will be to swing with it in grace as well as truth…
7. The ability to reason and debate with substance and intelligence has been replaced with seeing who can spew the foulest utterances about those they oppose. Neither side of the culture dare claim any moral high ground on this … we are all wallowing in filth…
8. In the Older Testament, God showed up and gave instruction personally. In the Newer Testament, the Apostles end up casting lots to try to discern the mind of God. Today, we make our best guess as to what to do. I find this odd…
9. I have a theory…that we’re hardwiring our brains to be unable to hear the voice of God…by overwhelming ourselves with the fruit of technology…
10. I’m still going to be working on finding a new theme to hold the blog as this one is no longer being updated. Unfortunately, I’ve found that blogging technology has passed me by…more unfortunately, it’s not the only thing that has…
O God, the protector of all those who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy, that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 10 – A Pause
At this point I think it is critical to pause to tie up some loose ends, review a bit and look at where we are.
This is the style John uses telling the Revelation story – the story from God’s point of view. Some examples – (very simple and not comprehensive – just to get the thought rolling.) – at each stop, this is all end of the world language
Just when the drama from all that began to recede, a new article came out saying horrible things about a popular Christian comedian.
We barely had time to congratulate ourselves on our moral excellence in the first two cases before a third fell into our pious laps.
Now we must quickly frame incendiary tweets to make sure that the new meat is publicly shamed beyond redemption and he is unable to make a living and hopefully, unable to buy groceries without a disguise.
It’s not enough to publicly call people to repentance anymore…they must be destroyed.
We’ll go back however many decades is necessary to find reasons to do so.
Redemption is not our problem.
We have our standards.
If someone offends you, ruin them thoroughly.
Now, Patterson needed to resign and that culture needs to change.
Any place abuse is enabled, a light must be shined upon it.
Roseanne needed called out for her mouth, but the last time I checked TV’s enabled you to change the channel.
The “Christian” comedian is accused of being a bad guy, but his crimes have not been fully disclosed.
It won’t matter…accusations are enough these days.
When I called out people here, the objective was to call people to repentance and hope for reconciliation with God and man.
Systems needed to be changed…attitudes needed to be changed.
They still do.
However, advocating for change is different from wanting to destroy people and wipe the memory of their existence from the earth.
Mob rule is great as long as you’re part of the mob…but when the mob runs out of targets they look among themselves for one.
It could be me…it could be you.
Maybe you have lived a pristine life free of conflict and sin, but I barely get through each day without shipwreck.
The only standard I meet is that I’m a pretty good repenter…because I’ve had a ton of practice.
When I claim the moral high ground it’s with fear and trembling and the knowledge that high ground induces vertigo in me.
Social media enables to us to ruin people more quickly than we can stack their scorned carcasses.
Scorn is the end of that process.
It supposed to be the beginning of the process for the church.
If you see me on that stack remind me of Jesus…and I’ll do the same for you.
Redemption is His specialty.
I’ve heard He’s not on Twitter…
Make your own application…
“We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
Huge thanks to EricL for the link help…support him at top right…