Saturday, November 05, 2005

Edification: It’s Not That Simple, Bro

I introduced the idea of “poison-pill” thinking yesterday and tried to show that such division of the world into two categories is naïve. Beyond this, though, this categorization is unhelpful and harmful. In the next two days, I’m going to hash out two negative effects of such thinking.

This thinking leads many Christians to a false spirituality in which life is broken up into two spheres. The first sphere could be called “the pure planet.” In some weird sense, Christians transport themselves to this planet when doing such things as Bible study, prayer, church, witnessing, listening to Christian music, and singing in the choir. This is the realm of the uncontaminated. Hermetically sealed from sin, this is the place that most of us spend about 95% of our time in. Sadly, sometimes we speak a harsh word to someone or hear a curse word in a movie and come crashing to the other planet located 8 million miles away from the Pure Planet. This is the “putrefied planet” and consists of only horrible, stinky things. Thankfully, we don’t stay long on the Putrefied Planet, because we are in actuality quite good, and so are soon whisked away to the Pure Planet, where we breath rareified air and remain blissfully free for many hours from any semblance of sin. In fact, we probably crash to the Putrified Planet about six times a week; that’s how often we do a really noticeable sin, and those are what count, because the others can be explained away. We weren’t really jealous, we were just asking why they got the job we didn’t get. We weren’t really attacking our sister in Christ when we repeatedly made fun of her in front of others—we were just showing our playful side and making the conversation lighter. We didn’t really lust after that attractive guy or girl—after all, we’re sexual beings, and so that sort of thing is natural. These are the mantras of the inhabitants of the Pure Planet.

These people know they sin—of course! Oh, they will tell you, what a wretch I am! I’m just a nasty little person, a sinner saved by grace. Ask them how they’re doing, and they’ll quickly reply, fast as the words can come out, “BetterthanIdeserve!” And you’ll hear all this and believe them and the world is all good and understandable and you’ll envy them in your heart for the amount of time they spend on the Pure Planet. You see, you know your own heart, and you know deep in there, in the place where you’re really honest with yourself, that you don’t come close to a 95% inhabitancy rate. See, for some strange reason, probably some deep spiritual inadequacy, you see that your best is mixed with your worst. You see that in your good thoughts, there are bad thoughts that slip in. You know how you set out to have devotional times of uninterrupted piety but often, in the very middle of your Purest Time!, think or say sinful things. You know that in church, when you should be applying the carefully chosen words of your pastor to your heart, you’re thinking about basketball, or dating, or unfinished work, or how your hair looks, or what you’re going to do that afternoon. You see all this, and much, much more, and it troubles you. You seem to be a pretty committed member of the Putrefied Planet. In the next blog, we’ll see what happens when you, a citizen of Putrified, begin seeing what the members of Pure are really like.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that you are going in the direction of how to fuse together our spiritual lives and our secular lives! I still feel as if, in one aspect or another, I separate the two. This disturbs me...I always want to be the same person, ME! I never want to feel uneasy about expressing my faith to someone whether it be by words or actions. Seldom do I ever feel this way, however, there are still times that I do get uncomfortable. Alright, that was my 2 cents worth of a comment.


9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan’s comments are of interest too. ESV Ephesians 6:19 and also for me [Paul], that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul, apparently, was uneasy about ‘sharing’ the gospel, boldly going where beatings, imprisonment, etc. might await. I gather some comfort from this, but do try to not use his prayer as an excuse for not being bold as I ought. Rather, may God give to me his word with boldness.

ESV Hebrews 11:10 For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

When did Abraham, or any child of Abraham, dwell in that city/planet? Not in this life.

Looking forward to more.


4:19 AM  

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