boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.
Ideas are percolating in my head though, so look for more posts soon.
"Go out on the street or to your school or workplace and take a poll. Ask people what they think Jesus stood for. You’re likely to hear things like 'stood with poor people,' or 'compassionate,' or 'loving,' or 'he was for peace.' Then ask them what Christians or the church stand for. And you’re likely to hear some very different things.
We have a problem. Most people have the idea, as crazy as it may seem, that Christians and the church are supposed to stand for the same things that Jesus did. And when they don’t, people get confused and disillusioned. It’s a problem."
I am a committed Christian, a Jesus-follower, and also committed to the church. But Wallis's assessment strikes me as accurate. And, I don't mean for this quote to be used to point fingers at others for how bad the church is. I find myself guilty of causing as much confusion and disillusionment as anyone else might.
Wallis goes on to apply this issue to our country's contemporary situation:
Thank God for that. Any thoughts?
"When Jesus tells us he will regard the way we treat the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner as if we were treating him that way, it likely means he wouldn’t think capital gains tax cuts for the wealthy and food stamp cuts for the poor represent the best domestic policy. Or when he tells us 'love your enemies' and 'blessed are the peacemakers,' it might be hard to persuade him to join our 'war against terrorism,' especially when there is so much 'collateral damage' to civilians, including women and children.Yes, Jesus is a problem —for many of our churches, the Wall Street traders, and the powerful people in Washington who maintain the American Empire. But for millions of people, religious or not, Jesus remains the most compelling figure in the world today. The church may not be much more credible than the advertisers, the media, or the politicians, but Jesus remains far above the rest of the crowd. Somehow, Jesus has even survived the church and all of us who name his name but too often forget most of what he said."
I'm basically a very superficial person. I care way too much about sports, movies, celebrities, possessions, and other such things. Now, I think there are valid reasons to have an interest in sports and movies and the like. I'm also sure, though, that there are more important things than those. And there are especially more important things than a televised, lavish, self-congratulatory party for the Hollywood elite. Namely, people and relationships are more important. So, I'm glad I spent time participating in and building relationships, instead of watching TV. Not only did I have a better time with my friends than I would have had alone in front of the TV, but it was also an investment of time in something that will last. What's more, people actually give back to you, especially friends. They help you grow and change; they challenge you and encourage you; they are a means of God's grace for sanctification. No matter what fleeting enjoyment I might have had in watching the Oscars, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have contributed much to my sanctification.
I want to be careful here, so that you don't hear what I'm not saying. (That's a line that I and many others have stolen from Jack Collins, one of our professors at Covenant Seminary.) I'm not saying you are a bad person or made a bad choice if you decided to watch the Oscars. Nor am I saying I'm so great because I spent time with friends instead. The fact is: I wanted and planned to watch the Awards. I'm just reflecting a bit on the reality that I need more of what's really important in my life and less of what's less. Not that I need none of the less important--just less. Really what I need is a reformation of my priorities. I ought to be able to enjoy sports and the Oscars and find value in movies and whatever else, yet I need to be able to give them up easily when something more important comes along. I'm sure this kind of reformation will take the rest of my life. But, I pray for my wife's sake, and for my friends', and for mine, that I see progress all along the way.