Archive for July 3rd, 2012

Well, tomorrow is a day off for most Americans (except those in the recreation, retail, and food industry as well as those with jobs that promote public safety and health).  This year it falls in the middle of a week. Most people I know live what would be classified as “busy” lives.  When asked how life is by someone else, I often respond, “Busy but. . . ”

The quotes below, however, made me stop and think a bit this afternoon.  If you have a few minutes to reflect, maybe it will at least cause you to ponder if our “busyness” is genuine or not.

Tim Kreider, writing for the NY Times opinion page:

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”

It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Further on…

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

Read the rest.

HT:  Z

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Sobering but a true assessment.

John Piper:

We have entered one of the most difficult challenges to a gospel-centered approach to evangelism. The reason is not that the center of the Christian gospel has changed, but the center of the cultural gospel has changed. That center for many is the freedom to be GLBT and to be approved.

Which means that whether we want to make this a frontline issue or not, increasingly it is. As one of the panelists said, “There is no demilitarized zone in the homosexual debate.” Pastors must address it. In fact, virtually everyone who communicates with mainstream cultural folk must address it.

The argument against Christianity today is not epistemological but moral. Christianity is rejected not because it is badly argued, or untrue, but because it is evil. And it is evil because it opposes homosexual practice. The panelists agreed that, at least in major metropolitan areas, the issue of homosexuality ranks near the top of the reasons people reject Christianity, along with the problem of suffering and the exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

It is almost impossible to express a compassionate disapproval of homosexual practice without being demonized. But this is not an entirely new situation for the church. On the one hand the state of our culture seems to have changed with lightening speed. On the other hand it may not be as new as it seems.

Keep reading to find out why  this is not new but what it means for the church.

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Please pray for so many (at least 35,000 people) affected by the wildfires out west. Click here for more pics from the Big Picture.

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“As a Christian, when you experience a painful providence like an illness or a rebellious child or a broken marriage or a financial hardship or persecution, do you ever wonder if God is punishing you for some sin you committed?

If you do, there is some very good news from the letter to the Hebrews.”

Keep reading this post by Jon Bloom

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A prayer for dealing with resentment by Scotty Smith:
The godless in heart harbor resentment.Job 36:13 
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave youEph. 4:31-32
     Dear heavenly Father, whether it’s the annoying fly interrupting my needed nap, the thoughtless words spoken by a trusted friend, the new ding in my twelve-year-old car, or the old hurt that generates fresh pain, resentment never helps the situation—never serves a redemptive purpose. Like the devil, it only steals, kills and destroys.
     Indeed, to harbor resentment is nothing short of harboring a criminal, for resentment is bent on criminal activity: stealing peace, vandalizing sleep, robbing relationship, killing kindness, murdering hope, infecting the innocent with deadly toxins, to name a few of resentment’s crimes. There’s no greater waste of energy than resentment.
     But worst of all, Father, resentment is a contradiction, a blatant misrepresentation of who you are and how you relate to us in Jesus. For if anyone has a right to hold a grudge, to keep a record of wrongs done, to rehearse and remember our sins against us, it is you.
     Yet you do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is your love for those who fear you; as far as the east is from the west, that’s how far you’ve removed our transgressions from us. You’re the Father who has compassion on us as your children (Ps. 103:10-13). You show us neither vexation of spirit nor exasperation of heart, so great is your love for us in Jesus.
     So Father, by the love that sent Jesus to the cross and by the power that raised him from the dead, continue to heal, free and change me. And help my friends who wake up today in unresolved conflicts, unfair stories, ongoing sagas of betrayal, abuse and craziness. You’re not calling us to pretend, but to trust you. Don’t let us be godless in heart, but grant us grace-full hearts. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.

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