Monday, July 03, 2006

No more Mr. Nice God

Thanks to SmartChristian for pointing to Karl Mueller's post on the "nice god" of North American Christianity. You may be surprised to learn that such a god is harder to find elsewhere:
Whether I am in the mountains of Guatemala, the slums of Africa or in India, Indonesia or Turkey, I find "ordinary" Christians making extra-ordinary sacrifices to follow Jesus. Somehow it hasn't hit them that Jesus is to provide them with personal satisfaction, money, health and happiness. I wonder why?
Good question. Mr. Mueller offers a pretty good answer in the rest of his essay.


Blogger Dan McGowan said...

Hey Milton - great stuff as usual... and, no, I've not been in hiding - just have not been saying much lately - something my wife is really happy about... ha ha ha!!

Yeah, this post hits it on the head, doesn't it? Though, and I may have asked this before, NOW what? What do we "normal" Christians here in America do with this sort of conviction? Do we nod our heads in agreement and sheepishly say, "yep, we gotta do something about that someday..." or - do we actually, really, truly, get up off our butts and LIVE A DIFFERENT WAY? It's a tough call, actually... because any of us can SAY we NEED to live like this - that's the easy part... no courage needed to say that... the courage comes in LIVING it...


8:06 AM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thoughts? First of all, glad to hear from you again. Now to the tough question, and I'm afraid you've asked me at a time of low certainty in having the answer. In other words, I'm less sure these days than usual about how to translate theory into practice in matters of serious discipleship.

I'm not a Calvinist, but sometimes I have to fall back on the mystery of the Word. Why do some people hear and are transformed and some are not? Why does the Spirit convict some and not others? All I know how to do is proclaim the truth and allow God's Word to do its work on hearts (and pray that it will).

In particular, I've really been thinking about the North American idolatry of wealth. The past few months have been lean for my family. We've not done without anything, but we haven't done with much more than the things we need. And I'm struck in looking around me at the many, many things I wasted money on when I had it (and how many middle classers around me are still doing the same). The idolatry of wealth is so pervasive and so subtle that most Christians probably don't know we practice it, particularly if we aren't what the world calls wealthy.

As a preacher, then I see the first step as being exposing the lie. That's what I try to do both in my preaching and on this blog. From that point on, it's mostly out of my hands, or at least I don't know what the next step is.

I do know one more thing. Worship--corporate, faithful, true and (at times at least) passionate--is a powerful antidote in the heart of Christians to the deception of the world.

9:19 PM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

By the way, interacting with your work, Dan, has often reminded me of the power of worship. It's something I'm apt to neglect, so please keep blogging about it.

9:20 PM, July 03, 2006  

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