Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Message to Us (and the church)

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
“Knowing the correct password—saying “Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, “Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’” –Matt. 7:13-23, The Message

In addition, Aimee McPherson, an important figure in the Canadian Pentecostal revival of the early twentieth century writes:
“Wide is the gate, broad the way to destruction—but small and narrow the way to life. Corrupt trees bring forth evil fruit—and are cut down, fed to the fire. Depart from me, workers of iniquity.” Words that divide, that force us to take stock. We like to think we’re ok—but Jesus is speaking to people who think they’re ok. Jesus didn’t say these words to “Gentile sinners,” but to good Jews. Matthew didn’t record them for “seekers,” but for the church. These words are not for “them,” but for us.”—Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944).

How powerful and awakening! What a call for all pastors and church leaders! What a reality check in a time where we must stand for what we believe, while admitting the things we do not know or have clear answers to. We should appeal character, not achievement, integrity, not duplicity, being someone who cares more about who we represent, rather than one who builds shrines for one’s ministry or self. As this ‘message’ can be difficult to discuss, and even for some to admit…it is one that we must deem as necessary!
Nevertheless, how does this look in a consumerist, product driven world? What about a consumerist, programmatic, product based church? Do the words from Matthew and McPherson ring true today…can we practically apply these truths in demanding reality of the local church and culture, or is the ‘message’ being practiced?

What are your thoughts and insights?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thought: A Wrath of God?

When the “Great Tsunami” hit the Southern region of Asia last year, I heard a number of religious pastors and leaders claiming that this calamity was as an Act (“wrath”) of God. My question is, would the same people, or groups, state that the catastrophes currently hitting the United States (Hurricanes: Katrina and Rita) are a direct result of an Act (the wrath) of God?

Are their comments and theology skewed by prejudices, inaccurate interpretation of scripture, erroneous presuppositions? Alternatively, are they correct in their premise of why these disasters occurred?

I welcome your comments and insights.

Quick Update:

It has been a while since I have last posted, but in balancing school (reading, papers, etc.), work, and family, a few things had to be put on the back burner, and blogging was one of them.
However, I am really enjoying my classes (Philosophy of Christian Religion-Dr. Jerry Walls, Inductive Bible Study of Mark—Dr. Joe Dongell, World, Church, and World-Dr. Ruth Reese, and an Independent Study of the New Testament-Dr. Ruth Reese).
Macy has had a few experiences the last couple of weeks. She currently has two teeth and is literally crawling everywhere. Furthermore, she is pulling her self up and grabbing objects off tables, chairs, and whatever else she feels is necessary to obsess. However, it is extraordinary how fast she is growing, developing, and each day becoming more and more beautiful.
In regards to Andrea and me, we are getting into a routine, which mainly consists of studying, working, and loving each other.

Well, that’s the quickie…until next time!