Friday, October 28, 2011

What's the Point of Unused Freedom?: On Egypt, Freedom, and God's Grace

Matthew 5:11
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.

Many of you have heard about the tragic events and injustice that has recently happened in the country of Egypt, a country very close to my heart.  October 10th brought devastation to Christian Egyptians as they were attacked during a peaceful protest, in defense of a church that was recklessly burned down prior to this protest.

Though injustice like this occurs every day around the world, and Christian persecution is a common part of many cultures- this tragedy rings even closer to my heart because in the back of my mind I always remember that this could have been me. 

I'm thankful that God willed for my parents to immigrate to the States long before I was conceived.  I had the privilege to be born into freedom and religious rights never imagined by my parents and grandparents.

When I hear about this tragedy, I'm reminded of the freedom that I fail to take advantage of...a freedom that get's taken for granted nearly every day.  My purpose is not to write a post about my American blessings...because though I am blessed to live in a country that offers freedom- I owe every bit of that to the grace of God.

My purpose, though, is deeper than merely giving thanks for freedom.  Because at the end of the day, what is freedom if it is not used?  Why would a chained prisoner rejoice just because he has the key to his chains- if he doesn't have the strength to throw off those chains and be free?

Sometimes I feel like that prisoner.  Given all the freedom I could ever need...and no motivation to use it.

My prayers are weak.  My worship is lacking.  My intimacy with God is limited...not by persecution (that would be an honor), but by the chains of laziness, busyness, and arrogance. 

I forget how much I need Him, and I forget how much He wants me.

It's sad that it takes the death of brothers and sisters in Christ to remind me to take hold of the freedom that I have to worship.  May it never be so again.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Image of God:

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Wednesday, October 5th, Steve Jobs-  founder of Apple, said goodbye to this world and journeyed into the next.  It's always a sobering reminder when someone dies, bringing into awareness the reality that this life is not all there is.

But what was even more devastating to me about the death of this man?  The reaction of our society.

With regard to his death I heard someone say, "It's a who is going to come up with the next iphone?"

As flippant as that comment was, I think it's a sad reflection of our society and it's priorities.  We have grown so accustomed to seeing people for what they have to offer rather than who they are.  We interact with people around us as though they were a commodity, making sure to tap into the resources they have available.

Brains, beauty, wealth.  Business, advice, help. 

In the interpersonal communications class I teach, there was a section in the text devoted to "networking" and the principle of making sure to see everyone we come into contact with as a potential person with whom we can "network".

Really?  Is this all that our humanity has boiled down to?

The answer is yes.

I don't know about you, but I want to do my best to fight this vicious paradigm.  I want to be a person who fights the temptation to treat the world around me as a commodity, but rather, see each individual as one who bears the image of God- highly loved, highly valued, highly honored- simply because of their Creator.