Let Not Your Soul Be Stolen

“It doesn’t shape character, as much as reveal it.” 

What used to be the apt description for the game of golf has a better home now. Two homes, in fact:

  1. This election cycle
  2. Television

We’re all feeling it. Those for whom we’d love to have the very most respect have acted, and continue to  speak and act in ways that engender suspicion and even disdain. Far from cultivating trust, our process is revealing the lowest expression of human nature. And now I’m not talking abut the candidates. There is plenty of fodder there, but has anyone else felt the robbing of our souls by the requirement that we pick one on November 8?

I invite you to check out a recent article by Tim Keller here.

He concludes with a pertinent question:

“Could the Christian church become one of or even the main factory where good citizens for a pluralistic society are formed? Yes it could. Who would have thought it?”

And then there is the entertainment industry. The new series, The Good Place, serves as an incredible study in current day spiritual perception. I can’t decide if it is more a satire on every biblical doctrine we hold dear, or the exact representation of the human condition, played out in full, forking color. Only the very, very good make it to the good place. It is very few. Careful score is kept throughout life, but the “good” people in residence are pathetic, each in their own way. Mistakes can be made, such as letting in a couple of “bad people.” But it is becoming clear that only one bad person in particular has eyes to see the farce that all of this is, gaming the system with worldly wisdom over the pathetic naivety of the divine characters in charge of “heaven.”

When our most dearly held beliefs and hopes are attacked with superior chuckles it hurts our hearts more than even the most vicious theological dissent. It’s almost subliminal. 

What to do? How do we live among? How do we engage? How do we keep our souls from wounding?

Keller issues an invitation, albeit sideways, for what Judy and I have been trying to live and model, and teach since our arrival in the Western District:

“There is another barrier,” he writes. “Face-to-face interaction—not video conferencing, email, phone calls, or social media—is the best place to recapture and practice these aspirations. It is much harder to caricature, insult, and denounce people as evil fools when you’re three feet away. But today fewer and fewer of our relationships are face-to-face.“

It is an invitation to intentional friendships. Our opinions, formed among people we love, as opposed to the anonymous enemy that can be held in theoretical contempt, will take on a very different shape. The tolerance, humility, and patience Keller defines in this article will become our reality, thus fulfilling the law of Christ!

And please, would you let this blogpost serve as an invitation to “District Leadership Development,” March 6, 2017. We’ll gather, once again, for our annual district conference and training around the subjects of Human Flourishing; Common Grace for the Common Good; and faith, work, and economics. Specifically, how do we equip the saints in our care to use the bulk of their waking hours to glorify God in the marketplace and neighborhood? In the public square and the social media environment? If we’re already living and working in a pluralistic environment, how might we do so with more intentional, and accurate gospel grace on display and in friendship?

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