Wrong Headed Activism

The variety and intensity of emotion for various causes can be found in my email in-box. Politics, world affairs, the economy, even doctrinal disputes are argued and advertised with fervor.

Much of today’s Christian activism is wrong-headed – it reflects hearts that get caught up in activity which ultimately does not reflect Biblical thinking. It subjects the Christian life to fits and spurts, bursts of zeal without wisdom, activism barren of biblical insight, high-tech evangelism wanting for body-life, and spiritual hype insensitive to the complexity of evil. Christians are running out of energy just getting from one activity to the next without any thought for the disciplines of true discipleship. They’re burning out and dropping out. They’re caught in a performance trap that leaves them wasted. Those who are rushing around are no longer certain of what they want out of life. They are unable to distinguish between willing obedience and willfulness, between false guilt and Spirit-led action, between self-expression and self-denial.

Real faith in God is essentially practical not promotional. It requires humility not publicity. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). Thoughtful Biblical living understands humble service, inner strength, quiet resolve, disciplined growth, and the sacrifice of praise. It’s in the routine of life, at the center of our daily existence with all its tensions and tedium that the heart that seeks after God pulsates with grace and truth.

(Thanks to Doug Webster for stimulating my thinking and providing most of the above text.)

Thirty-five Years Ago Today

Thirty-five years ago today it was very hot in Omaha, NE. I remember a lot of details of that day when Lois and I were married. Both her Mom and Dad escorted Lois down the aisle and the first thing she said to me was, “It’s plastic!” We both laughed.

Lois had attended a wedding where the aisle runner was plastic and the bride’s shoes made a zipping sound with every step. She’d told the story often and said that at her wedding the aisle runner would be paper or cloth. Oops! Every wedding we attended or were involved in for the next 34 years always brought up the question, “Will it be paper or plastic?”

I’ve had several calls, emails and text messages today from people saying they’re thinking of me. Thanks. I appreciate it. Your friendship, thoughtfulness and expressions of concern are a wonderful reminder of God’s boundless love.

I miss the laughs and the fun times we shared. I miss praying with her. I miss the conversations and especially the silence we loved to share. I miss seeing her at the kitchen table with an open Bible and her notebook. I miss her, but I’m also very grateful for the memories we made.

Missing Lois does not make me sad; I’m not depressed or lonely or hopeless. I treasure the memories but I’m not overwhelmed. It’s good to remember. I’m not sad that Lois has gone to Heaven. I’m not even sad that I’m still here. Instead, as Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25:1-23, I’m living life full speed ready for the call of the Master.

Kingdom Priorities

Ken and Marla (pseudonyms) were five years into their marriage when they called asking to meet. I’d known them for the past four years and to an outsider they seemed to have a “fairy tale” family. It didn’t take long to learn that beneath the façade of great looks, fancy cars, and a huge house in the best location, both of them were ready to call divorce lawyers.

Several weeks ago I received two calls on the same day from First CU Church of Dunkerville (pseudonym). The first call was from the pastor and the other from one of the elders. The pastor was angry and ready to leave because he felt the expectations for his time were unreasonable. The elders were frustrated because the pastor wasn’t helping enough with the church remodeling project.

Yesterday I spoke to a church leader who is trying to navigate through some very heated decisions on where to spend a chunk of money received from an estate. He explained, “It wouldn’t be so difficult if there were only two sides but everyone has an opinion and is claiming their idea to be the most spiritual.”

All three of these situations resulted in one question: “Where are your priorities?”

Worshipping and serving God as a team in a covenant marriage? Or the selfishness of relationships that says, “What’s in it for me?”

Is the advancement of the Kingdom of God the number 1 priority? Or has the church facility become an idol?

What’s more important? Personal preferences and private agendas or the recognition that investing resources in people is what reaches other people for the Kingdom of God?

What is your priority?