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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Faith & Politics, Pt. III

Wants and needs.

This is a tough area for me. Like a lot of folks, I like stuff. Lots of stuff. Like my Mac and the cool new IPod I received the other day. Right now I am listening to George Benson's "Ode to a Kudo" off his "Weekend in LA" album.

I also like good, expensive food, nice clothes, and playing golf.

Throw in a comfortable three or four bedroom house, 800 thread count sheets, a 36” flat screen and I am just about set.

The American dream right?

But how does this square with Jesus’ Gospel, and Paul’s words that “God will provide all our needs”?

Politically we hear from many in this country that we are a Christian nation. Founded on historic Judeo-Christian ideals. Presumably, that would include a biblical view of stuff.

So here is my question. How much of the stuff we feel we need are really things we want?

Let me give you an example. A woman in my office was sharing today about a recent trip to Asia. She stayed with some friends in Vietnam who live above a swamp in a small home.

Since the roof is made of tin, bugs and anything else that wants can come in and frequently do. But her friends have a roof over their heads, food on their table, and clothes on their back.

In short, their needs are met. Just as God promised.

And yet for those of us in the US, that just would not be sufficient. We would need more.

Or, more accurately, if we were to be completely honest, we would want more.

If we really are a Christian nation, as some claim, how do we square this?

I know we all like stuff, and many consider it our right to have it. I mean, we have gone to war to protect the “American” way of life.

Maybe our founders weren’t so enamored of the Gospel after all. Or maybe, we have just lost our way.

Either way, I struggle with all of this stuff!

Update ~ No, I did not receive my IPod from the President and Mrs. Obama, like the Queen of England.


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Comments on "Faith & Politics, Pt. III"

 

Blogger James Wolfer said ... (2:05 PM) : 

I think what bothers me the most about this is that we lie to ourselves and each other about this.

Example: "I'm a conservative, evangelical, right-wing so and so...and I support torture. Those guys were trying to ruin the American way of life!!"

I sometimes think the US still suffers from the manifest destiny mentality.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (2:08 PM) : 

The problem comes up James when there are two competing things that are both true.

 

Blogger Pastor David Curtis said ... (2:35 PM) : 

Good blog Dave. I think every honest Christ following American struggles with this very issue. In fact I blogged on it today. More of a rant, than coherent thought but I was feeling convicted in this very same way.

A comfortable life with a little religion to makes us feel good is not what Jesus died on the cross for.

I am not as politically minded as you but I have long thought that somewhere in our history people began to confuse biblical values with American values. The began to assume that American values were biblical just because they were American.

To have money and stuff is not inherently evil. And if we get caught up in comparisons between the haves and the havenots then our definition of blessedness and righteousness will be warped. Some is not more or less holy or righteous because of what they have or don't have. It is more about where we find our value and identity. When we look outside of our identity in Christ for our value we will end up exalting the wrong stuff.

I wish more people would honestly struggle with the questions you presented today.

 

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (11:01 AM) : 

I think I sent you the link to George Carlin's famous "Stuff" routine. Very funny because it's true.

 

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