Yesterday driving to Georgia for vacation I had revelation about driving and drivers. I am pretty confident that there are only two types of drivers.
Type #1: Those who don’t care about anybody else. This is the driver that drives in the left lane and never gets over. He cuts across a couple of lanes and never looks back. He is oblivious to the fact that anyone else is driving on the road.
Type #2: Those only concerned about themselves. This driver gets very upset that #1 is oblivious to others on the road. He gets upset, though, because at the end of the day, he is only concerned about himself. He gets upset because others on the road aren’t as “thoughtful” as him and are therefore getting in his way.
Which driver are you? Are you both?
I think our problem (or should I say my problem) is that we don’t treat other drivers as neighbors to be loved but cars that are in our way and to be avoided.
Steve Jobs’s gospel is, in the end, a set of beautifully polished empty promises. But I look on my secular neighbors, millions of them, like sheep without a shepherd, who no longer believe in anything they cannot see, and I cannot help feeling compassion for them, and something like fear. When, not if, Steve Jobs departs the stage, will there be anyone left who can convince them to hope?
“Politics in a democracy is a whole lot more complicated than either political parties or your pastor tell you it is; treat it as such–learn about the issues and think for yourself.” “When it comes to listening to the news, Christians should be eclectic in their approach and not depend merely on those pundits who simply confirm their view of the world while self-evidently using terminology, logic, and standard rules of evidence and argumentation in sloppy, tendentious, and sometimes frankly dishonest ways….” “Now, let me go on record and say that I am happy enough not to be walking around, looking like an extra for a low-budget movie about Elton John’s early career; I enjoy having nice, new things and not being stared at for all the wrong reasons as I walk down the street. My point is rather this: be aware that not all the effects of capitalism are unconditional goods, consistent with the gospel and with the Christian mind-set; we need to be as self-aware of the impact of this way of life as that of any other.” “Christians are to be good citizens, to take their civic responsibilities seriously, and to respect the civil magistrates appointed over us. We also need to acknowledge that the world is a lot more complicated than the pundits of Fox News (or MSNBC) tell us. We must never engage in the kind of inappropriate behavior of those who carry around pictures of our appointed leaders as criminals, or who scream mindless abuse at those with whom they disagree. Christian politics, so often associated now with loudmouthed aggression, needs rather to be an example of thoughtful, informed engagement with the issues and appropriate involvement with the democratic process. And that requires a culture of change. We need to read and watch more widely, be as critical of our own favored pundits and narratives as we are of those cherished by our opponents, and seek to be good stewards of the world and of the opportunities therein that God has given to us.”
“We need to avoid this marginalization of the voice of Christians in politics by realizing the limits of politics and the legitimacy of Christians, disagreeing on a host of actual policies, and by earning a reputation for thoughtful, informed, and measured political involvement.”
“Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.”
Interesting article over at Moore to the the Point about Glenn Beck’s recent speech. The best part of the article had little to do with Beck or Mormonism . . . it was a poignant point about American Christianity.
“Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.
Leaders will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death. That’s why so many of our Christian superstars smile at crowds of thousands, reassuring them that they don’t like to talk about sin. That’s why other Christian celebrities are seen to be courageous for fighting their culture wars, while they carefully leave out the sins most likely to be endemic to the people paying the bills in their movements.”
Helpful article from Tim Challies on the way in which “communication” dominates so much of our life.
Idols are typically good things that seek to become ultimate things. Communication is just the kind of good thing, the kind of very good thing, that can so easily become an ultimate thing. How would we know that there is an idol in our lives? It may be the kind of thing we look at right before we go to sleep and the first thing we give attention to when we wake up. It may be the kind of thing that keeps us awake even in the middle of the night.
By all appearances we have made communication into a kind of cultural idol. In most cases it is not Facebook or the cell phone that is the idol. Instead, they serve as enablers, as enhancers, of the greater idol of communication. Christians have proven to be far from immune to this idol, from following along as the culture around us becomes obsessed with communication and dedicates vast amounts of time and resources to it. Christians will do well to remember that in God’s economy communication is but a means to the far greater, far more noble end of enjoying God so we can bring glory to him. Communication can detract from this purpose just as easily as it can serve this purpose.
A couple of days ago ABC News published a story called “Looking for a New Religion? Apple Gives Dose of the Divine.” While our immediate reaction might be that it is absurd, I think there is a lot of truth in it. There are many that worship at the Church of Apple. How many people anxiously awaited their new iPhone 4?
But this does not just apply to Apple (though they may have more devoted followers than most). I think that our technology can easily and very quickly becomes idols that we worship. Technology is a good thing . . . something created by the image-bearers of the the great Creator as they imitate Him. What we do with it is the problem. These items quickly grab the affections of our hearts.
If we want to identify our idols, we can ask ourselves some very simple diagnostic questions.
What makes you angry?
What frustrates you?
What depresses you?
What brings you the most happiness?
If you have answered these questions, you have likely found some of the idols of your heart.
For instance, just yesterday I was driving to a meeting in a neighboring city. For about 10-12 of the miles I was stuck behind two trucks carrying the two halves of a modular home. They took up both lanes and made it impossible to pass.
I must admit two things: they were actually doing a good job of keeping up with the speed limit and according to my GPS I would easily make it to my meeting on time.
So how did I respond? I got frustrated that I could not get around these trucks. I was irritated and sulking for that entire 10-12 miles. Why was I so upset? My idols were at work. Which one? Take your pick . . . but maybe my control idol. Particularly when I am driving I enjoy the control that I have . . . I am the king of the road. That is why I do not like people driving slow in the left lane. (It’s for passing right?) When my ability to control a situation is taken away, suddenly I am frustrated and begin to get angry.
Why do we . . . no take that back . . . why do I so easily find my life so easily upset? My heart is an Idol Factory.