Saturday, February 28, 2009

Real Joy

Do people go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem? Probably not. This is, at least, a hint that the deepest joys in life come not from savoring the self, but from seeing splendor. And in the end even the Grand Canyon will not do. We were made to enjoy God.

--John Piper

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Patriotic? Then Pray for the Church (Reprise)

I wrote this blog a little bit ago, and felt that it got overlooked because of my stupid vlog thing that I did. So I reposted this one because I feel it's one that actually says something vaguely important.

I recently just finished reading an article in the Christian newspaper that I get called "What matters Most? Pray for the Church" by Chuck Colson. It was a great insight that I thought I'd share with my readership (how many of you are there, anyway?).

He starts off with "I do believe that Christians should pray for our nation. But first, we must pray for the church."
Living in Fallbrook, the most patriotic place I've ever been in my life, perhaps because we're neighbors of Camp Pendleton and know in person many of those who have seen firsthand the e
effects of war and the price of freedom, I've seen a side of the American people I didn't see in Simi Valley and Santa Clarita. Fallbrook First Baptist Church was one that, in its long church history, might have sung "America the Beautiful" on a Sunday morning-- I know for a fact that we have honored our country by singing patriotic songs in church in the past (My Country Tis Of Thee a few years back.) Many of the members of our church are Marines or ex-Marines. Two of our elders are ex-Marines. Last Sunday we said goodbye to our good friend Ray Ortiz, who will be in Iraq for the next 7 months. Our national pride is high; and we often pray for our country. Colson's article got me thinking: Do we pray as much for the American church?

Later on Colson makes a bolder statement: "We can't pray for our nation to be revived, to be saved, to receive God's mercy; we can't pray for our leaders to make wise decisions unless we first pray for the church...Our nation is in this crisis precisely because we've traded in a Christian worldview of work, thrift, savings, and prudence, and instead have embraced the false worldview of consumerism-- of leisure, debt, and instand gratification."

He's essentially saying that America's problems are hardly economical. A bad economy is the symptom of a much deeper problem: a society that has largely abandoned what most would call the cornerstone of Western Civilization-- a Christian world view. When it goes, its morality, work ethic, and discipline go along with it. This problem is not political, and cannot be addressed by political means. Of course it doesn't mean we must be passive, Christian politicians can still help America. But more powerful that Christian politicians is God's ordained means of propagating the gospel, the only cure to this economical disaster, which is the Church. Hence, Colson suggests before you pray for your country, and by all means pray for your country, pray for the Church.

Lastly, Colson writes, in a solemn tone, "...pray that we use this economic calamity as an opportunity to teach the culture what matters most-- a relationship with God. For if the Church continues to embrace the ways of the world, I don't see how America can maintain its place in the world-- much less survive in it."

Patriotic? Then start looking at America's problems as problems the Church needs to address, because I believe it's the only thing that can.