Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harder for a Rich Man To Get Into Heaven?

Jesus knew that when we have riches, we inevitably tend to hope in our riches rather than him -- and then we become poor indeed.

So, I'm watching John McCain be interviewed by Rick Warren. In a room filled with christians, in a a church that is one of the biggest in the world, this was McCain phrase drew the loudest applause. "I don't want to take money away from the rich, I want everybody to be rich." This is not a political post, but a post on the state of the many many churches, many many Christians. I think the response would be the same the statement been made in a great many of our churches.

So what's the big deal? My answer, it just made me sad. Not the answer, but the level of applause in a church to that line. It is not an evil line, but the loud cheering response makes me sad.

"I want everybody to be rich." -- Thunderous applause, In a room filled with Christians, people whose Lord, Jesus, would might say if he were there what he said when he was with his disciples, "It is very unlikely that a rich man will follow me."
And you know what? I don't think that Jesus' line would get the kind of applause that John McCain's did. I just don't. Do the people who applaud know that they could just as easily be applauding the line "I want it harder for people to come to Christ."

I know that's not what he said, I know the crowd would not cheer if he said that. But, I also know that the Church in the west is often very very blind to how the idolatry of wealth has caused us not only to lose our ability to see the poor, but also has caused us to lose our ability to hear what Jesus has to say.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blowing Somebody To Hell Without A Second Thought

Just got back from spending time with Kelly's relatives up in Oregon. They are Mennonite, but grew up Amish -- talk about interesting stories, not to mention the good food; I'd need a barn raising to burn off all the calories I ate.

Anyway, I had an interesting conversation with 81 year old Aunt Ida. She was explaining how sad she was when her son joined the army years ago, how it was so heartbreaking. As our conversation continued she said something that stuck with me. She told me she asked her son how he could even consider "shooting somebody and sending them to hell."

Interesting. I had never thought of it that way.

Now, theological nuances and pondering aside (and this is not a post about Iraq or the army or war in general) but, it bothered me that I never even though of that before. And so I had to ask myself why? Why had I never thought about that? My conclusion: I am perhaps more inundated by individualism and pragmatism than Jesus -- and I don't think I'm alone. I mean, how many Christians in America or elsewhere would think about the actions they would take in war or self defense first in terms of the effect that they might have on the ability of the person at the other end of their actions being able to choose to follow Jesus.

Let me get real practical. If a person was about to kill one of my children and I had a gun, I would blow them straight to hell without a second thought. I wonder if Jesus were living my life, faced with the same situation, if he would do the same thing. I don't think he would. I know he would grieve for the person, but I also think he might not shoot. And then what?

This is a post with questions and without answers. I'd still blow the bastard away, so don't mess with my kids.

I'm troubled by these questions -- at least that's a start.