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Showing posts from October, 2013

Why God Isn't a Capitalist

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God's resources of love and grace don't run out, even though most of us function in a world system called capitalism, of supply and demand over limited, precious resources. God's economy of grace works differently.  Our economic system is based on scarce resources driving up the cost of those who can pay for them. 
About this time of year, thousands of churches hold financial stewardship campaigns often using the parable of the talents from Matthew 25: 14-30:  

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey. After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. …

Mask- Dropping and Our Spiritual Self

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Jesus seemed to know what motivates human beings. His insights are all over the four Gospels: "Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention...don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get...Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you." from Matt. 6:1-5 (CEB) 

The Father's reward is more life, love, light. Clergy of all kinds are at risk of gaining the recognition, praise, adulation, "to be seen" in our nice garb, by many thousands, on cable, on the networks, at the cost of what we need most: seeking and receiving God's presence in the secret place.

Part of what draws me to Matthew is the sense of caution and warning it contains from Jesus for those who want to be right, mainline, conformist, and those who want to be considered properly religious. These are things t…

Had Enough "Rewards?"

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Maybe rewarding customers can yield some return business, because most companies have an incentive program. It doesn't matter that you just spent all you wanted to spend. They want your bucks next time.

The more bothersome type of "rewards" plans are the kind that send you countless emails and texts for you to sort out. To them, your email, not serving you, is gold.
Have you noticed that everyone providing a service wants you to tell them how great their service was? Go to our website, we're told, from there you can access a freebee if you complete another survey. Churches too, can fall into this trap. It's important to know how people regard you, it's just changing a negative or even lukewarm first impression that's so difficult.  
Rewards in and of themselves do not necessarily build any kind of brand loyalty, nor can they motivate any recipient to evangelize other potential customers about your product or service. The guru of brand loyalty says that…

Had Enough of Bucket Lists?

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Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes. Here’s what you ought to say: “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But now you boast and brag, and all such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16 (CEB)
Your bucket list is probably better than mine. I don't have one. I don't think I ever had one. It's not that I object to beholding the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, for example. It's just that I don't have "those places" as need to do-s. 
For a long time, I felt it was my job as a parent to make good and lasting memories with my children, and some of this involves going to see the wonders of the world. Making memories is a great thing to do with your kids, however old they are.  

But now I have an aversion to self- d…

Grandiosity

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"The denial or minimizing of our depression is sustained... by the grandiose myths parishioners tend to whisper in our ear, such as, "You are so strong and confident"; "You work so hard and do so much"; "You possess such remarkable faith." 

We either buy into these myths and thus disavow our depression, or else we are reluctant to ruin the image others have of us. 

Consequently we experience fatigue, irritation, and the erosion of our spirit, but rationalize that we are too strong, too smart, or too successful to be afflicted with real depression."  
Robert Randall