“The church is bombarded with two competing messages about money and capitalism. The first message is that wealth is bad and causes much of the world’s suffering; the second is that wealth is good and God wants you to prosper and be rich.” There are two foci in the quoted text: wealth and self. This seems a misfocus; the 2nd greatest command is about the self to other relation, not self to wealth.
Considering Ephesians 2:6, we have an idea that were we to have the right sort of spiritual “telescope” we could look “out there somewhere” and see ourselves literally sitting down with him. I don’t understand it that way any more.
“Then there is the other extraordinary theme, which is that of ‘visibility’, we might say. In our media society we know well that you exist only if you appear, only if you are seen. And churches are easily and fatally induced into seeking visibility.” Paolo Ricca
This morning, in the first few minutes after awaking while reorienting to the world, it occurred to me that the Beatitudes have an answer to my perennial bugaboo, the opening of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanity; all is vanity.”
In conversation last Sunday afternoon with someone visiting from the Pacific Northwest, the topic of membership covenants at large evangelical churches came up.
A friend recently brought this address by Ronald Sider to my attention. Though over 20 years old, I find it as challenging today as it must have been then. God’s People Reconciling
Last week my wife received a letter from a girl she had visited in the county jail. The girl asked her thoughts on a few questions for a Bible study in their tank, one of which was this: “If you were in front of God right now, and he asked you, ‘Why should I let you in my Kingdom of Heaven?’, what would your answer be?” My wife mentioned this to me last Saturday, and after a few moments’ reflection I responded: “Because I want what you want.”
Jean-Luc Marion, in God Without Being, has given me the first effective response to Quohelet’s charge of vanity with which I have struggled much of my life. I read this but two weeks ago, and already I find it challenging and transforming a long held instinctive response to the world.
Four hundred years of prophetic silence was broken by John the Baptist with a succinct statement of radical equality. Tom Friedman sees the world flattening now; John saw that two millennia ago.
Flying the Tuesday after Memorial Day I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman behind me; these were chance seatmates for this flight. He was a geologist, perhaps 50+ years old, and she was perhaps late 60s or 70s.