Friday, March 28, 2008

New Topic!

I am going to change the subject in a big way (hopefully diverting all attention away from Samantha, the 18 year old model, eek!)

I have been reading alot lately and also listening to some CD's from Vision Forum that we have had for a while. Now that I am using the treadmill in the morning (yes, I have been using it every weekday morning!) I have time to listen to them. I actually get to concentrate on what has been said when I let the kids watch a video while I am exercising. Usually I use the time for some kiddie training in sitting still, playing quietly for a half hour. This means much more work for me and many more interruptions of the aforementioned aerobic activity, but I don't feel as guilty about it!

My mind has been swimming with all sorts of countercultural, fundamental, and very unpopular topics in Christendom. I have wanted to review some of the books I have read, but know how opposed so many Christians are to the ideas (let alone those who do not use the Bible to guide their lives). Christianity today seems to be plagued by a desire to live a comfortable, easy life in the name of "Christian liberty" and "freedom." We interpret simple, straightforward passages of Scripture to suit our selfish desires. We take 5 verses out of context to back our agenda. We create doctrines that so confuse the believer that they turn from the truths of the Gospel out of despair and exasperation. We preach God's redemptive love to the world, but don't love our brother. We are afraid of iron sharpening iron and lovingly calling our brother to account. We are immediately defensive and unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our sin and lead us to repentance. We are afraid to live the life that God calls men, women, and children to live for His glory because it makes us different and weird to those around us. We have lost sight of God's plan for husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers, and sisters.

Thankfully, God always leaves a remnant. There are a small number of leaders in the church today that are calling for revival, calling for a turn from the world and her deceptive ways. Being like the world does not make us relevant TO the world. It does the opposite. Those without God are looking for something to fill the empty depths of their longing heart. The created will always have a need for the Creator. What do we offer those who are broken and dying? Do we offer the saving grace of Jesus Christ? Or do we offer a life no different than their own. Do we offer a gospel of prosperity? Follow the Lord and you will be rich, successful, and have a perfect life. Do we offer the Bible as the ultimate authority to life, or do we pick and choose what we like and argue away the rest? Are we willing to ask the tough questions, or are we too worried of offending? If we don't call sin what it is, what did Jesus have to die for? Did Jesus die so that we could have the "freedom" to wear a bikini to the beach? Did he pay the ultimate price so that women could be leaders of men in the church? Was the veil broken in two so that children could now be rebellious to their parents because they were born "strong willed"?

I heard a question recently that has me thinking. It was something like, "If you lived on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to guide your life, would you live differently than you do now?" Have we let the world tell us how we should live, or do we base all of our decisions on what will bring glory to God? What was God's plan for the family? What does He desire for fathers? Mothers? Children? Can we even answer these questions with Scripture? Does the Bible give us clear answers or do we really believe what some say about It being contradictory? Is the Old Testament completely irrelevant and at odds to the New Testament church? Do we have problems in modernity that the early church never had to face? Do any of Paul's letters to Corinth or Ephesus point to any problems in churches today?

Okay, okay, that was alot of questions, but a very small glimpse into my thoughts of late. Feel free to answer or give your opinion to any of these questions. I think I may delve into some of them in later posts. If any of these topics interest you, let me know if you want me to address them. I am really a proponent of living life thoughtfully, not just going with the flow and doing what everyone else is doing. I think being reflective and holding my life up to the sanctifying power of Scripture is an important discipline. I pray the Holy Spirit will shed light on your life as well as you live to serve the Almighty God.

Have a great weekend!


Kristen Borland said...

Deep breath...

These are important questions indeed. I just had to pause to take a breath! I went to the John Piper Don't Waste Your Life conference this weekend (oh how I wish it lasted at least twice as long!--and I'm told you can listen to it online), and I'm feeling convicted in so many ways. If we don't ever stop and consider these things, how will we ever grow? And like you mentioned, if we go on living like the world, what's the attraction to non-believers? Loving the created more than the Creator, wasting our years seeking the pleasures of creation. What are we doing here if we aren't living to glorify God?! And add to all that God's immense grace and patience (for which I am so grateful) as we figure it all out!! Thank you, God!!

Samantha said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Kristen. You put into words what I have been thinking about (much more precisely, perhaps!) I haven't read/listened to much Piper, but I will check out his website to see if I can listen to any of his stuff.

Brianna Heldt said...

interesting questions. thanks for always posting thought-provoking things!

there are just so many variables--some women equate being feminine with wearing a skirt, others with wearing makeup and pants. i think sometimes that when people set out to avoid being like the world they instead enter into their own subculture, or their own world, where certain appearances are applauded, and others looked down upon. following "worldly" trends or fashions is considered sinful, yet they follow their own trends of dressing, which to me seems no different. someone out there is setting the trends.

ultimately it's the heart God cares about and things are a lot messier than we like to admit. God is creative and i think therefore that not everyone will be dressing alike.

those are just some of my initial thoughts i guess. i don't desire to "live like the world", yet at the same time am a member of my culture, just like Christ was. (so i drive a car, buy clothing, get my hair cut, eat hamburgers. :) ) when we're told not to live like the world, i don't think that means, therefore, everything we do has to LOOK counter-cultural on the outside for us to avoid sin. everything we do should however honor the Lord. and be offered back to Him. (the whole alcohol debate comes to mind.)

i'd be interested in reading more specific thoughts of yours on the books you've been reading, etc. i don't think issues are to be shied away from; we need to be honest before God and care enough to be laid bare before Him!

Samantha said...

Brianna, thanks for your encouragement!

I don't think that modern culture is inherently evil or sinful just because it's modern. Many things are benign and just personal preference (like eating hamburgers :) ) Some things are sinful because they are in opposition to Christ and biblical teaching. I just hear too often that the Bible isn't "relevant" when it comes to culture because it was in a different era. That is not true.

About modern fashion.... I don't think that it is evil or bad because it is modern. There are things that are fine and again just personal taste and preference. There are other things that are sinful because they are immodest, and Christian women are called to be chaste and modest. You have to admit that many Christian women push the envelope on this one. We have become desensitized to seeing and showing "skin" because we are bombarded by it, but I don't believe that God is glorified by Christian women baring their body to the public.

I will be completely honest and agree with you that there seems to be a "subculture" of women that all wear denim jumpers out there. Are denim innately jumpers bad? No. Does everyone have to wear a uniform? No. My standard for apparel is if #1: God is glorified through my clothing choices. #2: My husband approves and "likes" what I am wearing. I think that God needs to be in the equation of making these types of choices that go beyond personal preference to possibly areas of sin.

I think all the areas of being like the culture that you mentioned in your comment are not areas of sin, unless they become an issue of idolatry or if we can't afford them (like cars or too many clothes etc.) How many Christians are drowning in credit card debt because they have to have all of the "stuff" out there?

The areas I am talking about are the areas in which we have strayed from God's design in how His children should live. I won't list them all now, mainly so that I don't have bricks thrown through my window, but they are areas that Christians have bought into the world's way of living and thinking kit and kaboodle (What does that mean anyway :)!)

I will just throw out there.....Titus 2.

We should memorize it and try with God's power and grace to live by it.

Thanks for your comments!