links: this went thru my mind

Here are links to five articles that I’ve found to be interesting and helpful reading.

Achievement, expectations, humility, service, success & the will of God: God’s Not Looking for Heroes

“We don’t all need to be heroes. Jesus is the Hero. The Hero came 2000 years ago. So He’s already the Hero. He’s not looking for heroes, He’s looking for co-laborers. The challenge is, most people want to be co-stars, not co-laborers. If you actually understood what it was to be a co-laborer, you could labor wherever you are.”

America, culture, individualism, materialism, nationalism, patriotism, values & war: American Values Are Not Necessarily Christian Values

“… [there can be] no excuse for conflating country and church. We can appreciate and even respect the nation in which we reside, but we must not forget that our status is as foreigner and exiles. (1 Peter 2:11)”

American Sniper, cinema, deception, distortion, evil, film, movies & payback: Clint Eastwood’s Sniper, and the American Messiah [essential reading]

“This is the problem with the white-hat black-hat narrative of Hollywood: when ‘they’ do what ‘we’ do (though ‘they,’ of course, poor saps, are just not as efficient in their killing as ‘we’ are) it is evil, but when Americans do it, it is heroic. Eastwood’s Kyle insists he is doing what he does because he does not want terrorists in our neighborhoods here. Yet he participates in the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11; a country who was headed by, no doubt, a despot but a despot who had furthered his hold on power by the support of our own country; and when those people fight back because they don’t want foreign invaders in their streets, it’s ‘evil’ like Eastwood’s Kyle has never yet imagined.”

Anger, bitterness, forgiveness, hatred & resentment: A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

“Anger doesn’t get you anyplace. Hate doesn’t get you anyplace.”

Attention span, authority, church, commitment, Facebook & social media: 5 Ways Facebook May be Harming Your Church

“What effect does ‘social media’ technology have on the way we view church? What effect does it have on the way we conceive of life in the body of Christ?”

now that Osama is dead, wdJd?

“When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.” (Proverbs 11:10)

But who are the righteous and over what, or in whom, does the city rejoice?

There has been mass celebration, singing, and dancing in American streets of late … because a murderer was killed. If these things are all good, or at least innocent, why is it not possible for me to visualize Jesus joining in with us all, doing a fist pump and shouting, “Get ya’ some, Osama!”

No small number of Bible verses have been cast about in conversation and print attempting to justify the elation of these days. Passages like the one at the front end of this post. So why can’t I imagine Jesus thinking, “That’s right, people. Word up! It’s time to paarrrrty!”

Many take comfort in thinking the thousands of innocents who have died have now somehow been served or vindicated by a tap to the head. So why can I not conceive of Christ pulling the trigger? Is it because I know the Christ did not resist his own death?

We need to pause and ponder our prompts and purpose as people made in Gods image. We need to rethink what’s going on. “Everybody look what’s goin’ down.”

What’s going on is an unrepentant soul no longer has an opportunity to repent. And maybe that’s why I can picture in my mind Jesus weeping for a prodigal who never came home.

What’s going on is retaliation is coming. We know the question is not “if,” but only “when,” “where,” and “how.” The useless, ceaseless cycle of human anger and hate goes on. And so, maybe that’s why I can envision Jesus’ face hard as flint, his eyes never leaving us, drinking it all in, simply waiting for his Father’s word, “Enough!”

What’s going on is idolatry. The jubilation I am witnessing that comes up from this part of the globe to heaven does not give glory and praise and thanksgiving to the living God for his mercy and his justice, but substitutes nationalism and exalts patriotism to his place. It is substituting red, white, and blue as the colors to honor rather than God’s whiteness of holiness, all the while loudly proclaiming itself “a Christian nation” and “the light of the world.” And so perhaps this is why I can see a tear roll down Jesus’ face as his Father is denied the true worship and honor due only to him.

What does Jesus do? Why do we do what we do? Who is it, not with our words, but with our actions, that we truly put in the highest place? And … how long, O Lord, how long?

Heavenly Father, forgive our foolish ways. Have mercy on us when we delight in ourselves, rather than live like your Son. Bring us to our rightful mind, set right in you, and prospering in the abundance of simply living rightly to your glory and praise in humble service. Remove from my heart anything and everything akin to anger or hate, retribution or vengeance, pride or arrogance. And come, Lord Jesus!