Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Pleasures of Earth

"It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime time dribble of triviality that we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of His love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not His enemies, but His gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God Himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable." - John Piper

This is a strong word that cuts to the core of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus - to lose one's life in order to have true life. It is this inordinate love for this life - for created things - that blinds us to the poor, to the battle, to the mission, and most of all, to fully loving Jesus.

But as Piper points out, these things often are indeed gifts from God. How then does the disciple of Jesus use the things of this world, and even enjoy them, while counting all of it loss for the sake of Christ? How do our values come into line with what is actually valuable?

Think about it...

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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Urban War

This is a graphic picture.

It's a young African American man lying in a morgue, killed by another young African American man. It happens every day here in Chicago, usually completely invisible to the world outside the 'hood until somethng graphic like the beating that occurred last week captures our attention. For a minute.

I’m so weary of the same old tired 1960’s solutions being rolled out to address the violence problem (“Educate! Legislate! Regulate!”).

But the problem being faced by (mostly) minorities in urban America is far more complex than either the conservatives or the liberals let on. It involves systemic injustice alongside personal responsibility. It involves racism and historical disenfranchisement on the part of the majority culture alongside victim posturing and personal sin on the part of the minority culture. It involves bold-faced Satanic attack and other varieties of spiritual warfare. It involves the overreach of government alongside the apathy of government. I could go on...

It involves, at a significant level, the failure of the institutions of Church and Family. It begs the question, "where are the fathers?"

But with all that in the background, we must look at this picture and ask HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

Force yourself to face this...