I’m almost 31 and trying to acquire a love for reading. I like the idea. I like the way books look. I even like turning the pages…
Right now I’m working my way through a book quite a few people (who know me well) recommended. Have any of you read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Again Excess?
It’s kicking my butt. There is really no other way to put it. I’m only on chapter two.
The book is divided into seven chapters (of excess) in our lives: clothes, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress. I just finished the chapter on spending which talked more about our focus on fulfilling our own needs (= greed) instead of actually the dollar amount we spend. Jesus expected us to be a bit radical (not to fit in). He
expected expects radical simplicity, radical generosity, radical obedience. I finish the chapter feeling I’ve gotten a bit comfortable about the way I look at the world. Especially when I read this portion:
hundreds of times in the Bible we see reduction, pouring out, abstinence, restraint. we find our Bible heroes fasting from food- David, Ester, Nehemiah.. Jesus. john the Baptist says if we have two coats, one belongs to the poor. the early church sold their possessions and lived communally, caring for one another and the broken people in their city. we see God explain His idea of a fast: justice, freedom, food for the hungry, clothes for the naked. we don’t see the New Testament church hoarding the feast for themselves, gorging, getting fatter and fatter and asking for more; more Bible studies, more sermons, more programs, classes, training, conferences, information, more feasting. for us.
at some point, the church stopped living the Bible and decided just to study it, culling the feast parts and whitewashing the fast parts. we are addicted to the buffet. the feast is supposed to sustain the fast, but we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths, stuffed to the brim and fat with inactivity. what would the early church think if they walked into some of our buildings today, looked through our church web sites, talked to an average attender? would they be confused? would they regard our hoarded wealth with shock? would they see the spending on church buildings and ourselves as extravagantly wasteful while twenty-five thousand people die every day from starvation? i think they’d barely recognize us as their brothers and sisters. if the modern church held to its biblical definition, we would become the answer to all that ails society.
A direct way of saying it. Isn’t it? When she writes about “the church”, it’s personal. I don’t believe it’s a direct attack on the church (as an organization). It’s me. It’s you. We make the church… which is why I feel uncomfortable:
stuffed to the brim and fat with inactivity.
Jesus was a radical guy. I forget that sometimes. Obviously, our culture is entirely different from the early church. Many things that applied then, don’t apply to us today. Yet.. Jesus was a radical guy! I’m not feeling radical in my generosity.
I can do better. A kick in the pants.