So this is post #2 of my blog. Like last week (and all future weeks, I hope) I will follow-up on Sunday's scripture and sermon with thoughts related to the topic, but coming from a slightly different angle.
I noted in the sermon that Paul was urging the church in Philippi to remain true to the gospel message even in the face of competing ideologies the Philippians may have been hearing. Paul's hope was to keep the church he founded true to the faith and steadfast against anything that might pull them away from the values of the Christian message. He urged them to think about things that were true, honorable, just and excellent.
In the sermon, I urged us to be on our guard against the messages we receive from capitalism and consumerism that can lead us away from our faith. My hope was to convey that our peace and security in life comes not by building a huge bank account, but by complete trust in God's provision. It's easy to buy into the rhetoric that says we must have a stockpile of money, investments and reserves in order to have a secure present and future. Truth is, we don't need that. God provides everything we need.
Having said that, I certainly wouldn't argue that we can just sit around and be lazy and wait for resources to drop out of the sky. Part of faith is taking action; moving into an unknown future armed only with a complete and utter trust in God's direction and provision. Such a journey is a call to action, not a call to lethargy.
How do we balance between faith and action? How do we stay true to who we are in the face of marketing and advertising that promotes a constant message of production and consumption? That's part of what we work out in our faith, isn't it? Hopefully some of the content in this blog will be helpful to you as you consider how to strike that balance in a healthy and faithful way.
The church has had an interesting dialogue regarding capitalism throughout history. Some within the church have argued that capitalism aligns with the Christian faith because it fosters conditions that encourage initiative and work from those within its system. Work being preferred over sloth, people are rewarded for their efforts with success and the accumulation of wealth, both considered "God's blessing" on human endeavor.
On the other hand, some within the church have argued that capitalism is not consonant with the Christian faith because it is based on competition rather than cooperation. This view on capitalism suggests that such competition inevitably creates a world of winners and losers where some prosper at the expense of others. While some, blessed with resources, skills and opportunity, prosper greatly, most are assigned to the margins. Those who lack resources, skills and opportunities, in fact, live a subhuman existence void of prosperity and rife with struggle and pain.
What do you think?
Meet George and Paula Owen
Please remember the good folks of Fourth in your prayers. Here's a list of those we been
Nancy Wright - Health concerns
Darlene Williams - Health issues
Judy Harris - back pain
Connie Nutgrass - Recovering from surgery
Tara Parker - Recovering from broken arm
Glenn Orr - Recovering from broken arm
John David Williams' friends George and family along with Colleen and her family
Dennis and Joan Little's friend Dennis Tomberlin
Bill and Ruthie Brent ask for prayers for Debbie, Jeff and Loretta
Pat Gould ask for prayers for her friend Tammy's husband
Jan Merrick asks for prayers for friends Karen and Jim. Jim is battling health issues
Michaelle and Larry Steier's son John had a heart attack. Is out of the hospital recovering.
Margaret Lewis - Hospitalized last night. Pray, too, for strength, peace and clarity for Alex.
The Great Stabilizer
In the "V's and P's" segment of 4th TV this week, I note how easy it is to momentarily forget what is most valuable in life. It is easy to forget what we hold most dear as we buy into the message that others are selling.
This is true for me. I know if I'm left to live inside my head too much, I can start to drift a little. What I mean by "drifting" is that I start listening to points of view that don't align with who I am. I start to drift from my own values. Do you ever do this? Do you ever let the voices of those who live outside your values have more space in your head than they should? Do you ever question and wonder about your values because someone else has presented a different point of view?
Those momentary lapses are just another reminder for me of how faith is the great stabilizer of my life. There have been so many times in my life when my faith practices have called me back from unhealthy thinking that is destructive and contrary to who I aim to be. When the voices of negativity start to invade, I can call on the practice of prayer to usher them out. When worry begins to creep into my soul, I can turn to the practice of study to boost my faith. When a self-absorbed preoccupation with my struggles dampens my spirit, the faith practice of serving others reminds me of how truly blessed I am.
No matter what spirit of negativity enters my life to do damage, there is a faith practice to help ward it off. Our faith always provides the tools we need to protect us from our own
self-destructive ways. Faith is the Great Stabilizer. What a gift.