Scot McKnight has been running a series on IGens. Today's and yesterday's were especially good. From today's:
She thinks there is (and I use my own term here) a social anorexia. That is, "we're malnourished from eating a junk-food diet of instant messages, e-mail, and phone calls, rather than the healthy food of live, in-person interaction" (110). There is an instability in relationships -- beginning with divorce and casual romantic relationships and the biological clock ticking for young women and young men (1.2 men unmarried for every one woman). Lots of living alone and lots of moving from one location to another ... looking for jobs and the economic realities of how expensive it is to buy a home and dual income and then kids and fees for taking care of kids ... much of this driven by the desire to stand alone. Add to this higher expectations by the young adults ... and the desire to make it on our own.
Reminds me of Aspects of the Atonement, where he talks about shame.
Which leads right into this from Ekklesia,which is from here (I'm quoting from the second link):
Forgive me if I go off on this again, but I really do think this is central: Given the ways we are influenced by capitalism and the way we let it reign in so many areas of our lives, is this kind of koinania possible in our times? I get chastised whenever I try to show how capitalism shapes Christians into being pagans. Many of my evangelical friends, automatically assume I am espousing socialism as a social system that is better than capitalism. Sorry, I am not doing that. Instead I am showing how this system shapes us into a spiritual formation that disables us from being Christians. Chan’s illustration of life insurance illustrates my point. Many of us have sat down with an insurance broker and watched him/her outline on an excel sheet how much we will accumulate if we contribute so much. We then hear the words and if we “want to maintain our lifestyle” when we retire we will need some sort of outrageous number of dollars of life insurance. Then this person walks off in disgust if we dare question these “scientific expert” projections. But right there, as we listen, we are all being shaped by the powers to be independent, do not trust anyone else, and be responsible, and maintain a lifestyle you never needed in the first place. This in turns shuts us off from one another, and keeps us working harder and longer and keeping more of our money so we can pay these insurance premiums. We lose our capacity to be dependent upon one another and to give time and money to His Mission. This is one good example of how capitalism shapes and forms our lives into being pagans.
I've said it many times on this blog, but it doesn't make it less true, most christians are practicing atheists.
Which leads to this:
Are you furthering your education to get a degree? Burning midnight oil and studying to make an A? Planning lessons to make your point? Growing a church to build a better resume? Visiting folks to appease the pastor? Attending church to feel better about yourself throughout the week? Preparing sermons to fix some individual or group? Supporting missions, ministers, leaders and campaigns so goals are met and numbers increase?
If we answer yes to any of those questions, our actions are of no benefit whatsoever. Nada. None. Zip.
It’s only when we fall back completely and surrender every iota of our self-sufficiency to Christ, that the Spirit can fill us and use us for His glory. We can do nothing apart from Him and when we do something with anything other than Him in mind, we do nothing at all.
Which leads me to this:
It is very difficult to discuss "worship" in the context of the American church (and perhaps in other nations as well, I don't know) without the discussion centering on the church meeting. In fact, some readers probably bristle because I used the phrase "church meeting" instead of "worship service". However, we must realize that the inclination to associate the church meeting with worship did not arise from Scripture.
Go ahead and study... you should. Studying the association in Scripture between the church meeting and worship is one of the reasons that I became interested in ecclesiology. But, that study also encouraged my interest in worship - not singing and praying and preaching, but worship, from the perspective of Scripture. And, as I studied worship in Scripture, I found that worship has more to do with how I live my life than what I do on Sunday mornings - although that is certainly part of it - around 1% of it (1-2 hours out of my 168 hour week). So, why do we act as if that 1-2 hours is 90% of our worship (or even all of it)?
Worship is what we do all the time as we walk in Christ! There is no "secular/sacred" divide in him.