Everyone miss me? Thought so. The brain has been a bit tired lately from the ongoing collapse of American capitalism so please excuse my absence. I am just going to offer some brief glimpses into recent thoughts I have had. If any of these are really interesting and deserve more time I will come back and elaborate on them in a later post.
I think we should change part of the Lord's Prayer. Instead of saying, "Lead us not into temptation", we should say, "Strengthen us when we are tempted". God does not tempt and the way it is said now could be very confusing to new Christians and non-Christians alike.
I wanted to briefly address Bill Keller's contention that the current financial and economic fiasco is God's judgment on this nation. Normally, I am very much in sync with Bill because I believe he preaches the true Word of God and I admire his unwillingness to compromise the truth no matter how unpleasant it may be for others to hear. Let me just say up front that I can't sit here and say with 100% certainty that what is currently transpiring is not God's judgment. But here is what I can say: My belief is that this is simply part of capitalism. Credit was too easy to get in this country for too long and it caused many people, both loan givers and loan takers to make decisions based on greed and an unwillingness to admit that they were overextending themselves. In a nutshell, that has put us where we are now, at a point where deleveraging must occur and the excesses must be purged from our system. This happens throughout history and is part of the economic cycle although this trough threatens to be more severe as the exceeses are more pervasive than they have been at most other times.
Think of this like a smoker. A guy smokes two packs every day for 25 years and dies of lung cancer. Is that God's judgment on that individual? Or is that just a natural consequence of poor physical stewardship? Is there a difference between those two? Bill believes there is a difference as do I. Except he believes it is the former and I believe it is the latter. Does it matter who is right? I guess it depends on your point of view. I think you need to be careful in attributing something to God that may or may not be His doing. I actually emailed Bill and asked him if this was his personal opinion or a divine revelation. All he said was that it followed what he was talking about at the beginning of the year - that God's judgment on this nation is coming. So, he didn't answer my question. I think Bill is probably right - God's judgment is coming. But I also have a feeling that Bill has latched onto the financial meltdown to prove his point, regardless of whether or not he is actually right in doing so. I find that dangerous and rather disingenuous.
Now, like I said, I agree with Bill the large majority of the time. One thing he is really good at is pointing out other "Christian leaders" who are wandering away from God's word and forming all kinds of alliances with those who don't preach Christ crucified. He brought up Robert Schuller today and his "Rethink Conference" which will be happening again shortly. You can read a bit more about it here:
I find it mentally and spiritually taxing to have to keep tabs on the supposed pillars of the Christian community. I know we are called to do it. I just wish there were more leaders who were completely sold out that we didn't have to keep our eyes on every minute. I read a recent post from an Atheist pointing out the fact that so many Christians have so many problems with other Christians not living or thinking the way they are supposed to. What does that say about Christianity? Hard to argue with that point. Of course, the old answer is, "Focus your eyes on the One who is perfect and not the multitude who are imperfect." Good advice for a Christian but non-Christians are looking at us and evaluating every word and deed. Many of our supposed leaders are only making our jobs that much harder to witness effectively.
Speaking of which...sad to see what is going on in the life of Ray Boltz. He has found a new "Christian" community who accepts his newly revealed homosexuality. Ray needs to be ministered to in grace and love but also truth. He will not be getting the latter where he is now. I love his rendition of "Watch the Lamb". I tear up almost every time I hear it and it hurts to watch him walking away from the Lamb.
I ended up reading a little bit about Mafia life in the early 1930s in New York City. I don't think there is a profession that demonstrates the concept of "he who is first shall be last" more aptly than a mob boss.
Blogging on a Saturday night. Call me a party animal. But it is a cheap way to pass the time and right now that is priority one. Hunker down people.