Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Two Times

There are two thoughtful articles in this week's issue of Time magazine. The 1st, Joe Klein's essay, is about what he calls 2nd Commandment Christians. He shows us some republicans who are running for president and offer us an unusual mixture of moral conservatism and a commitment to social justice issues. Such candidates rarely make it to 2nd base, but it's encouraging to see that American politics is branching out in its consideration of what Christianity stands for; not just sexual morality, but economic and social justice, environmental responsibility, and a commitment to breaking down the racial and economic barriers that divide us.

The 2nd article focuses on the hypocrisy of the left, and their blind involvement in 'carbon credits' schemes. As Krauhammer rightly points out, these schemes are 'a way for the rich to export the real costs and sacrifices of pollution control to the poorer segments of humanity'. What a laugh to see Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio standing at the Oscars watching an ad that encourages people to take mass transit - and of course the audience erupts in loud applause, even though none of those in attendance have been on a bus since the moon landing.

Eric Berne's "Games People Play" speaks of ways we deceptively relate to one another. I'd argue that just as often we deceptively relate to ourselves, and that one of the ways we do so is by elevating our loyalty to causes to the status of good behavior. In such a paradigm, it doesn't matter if my house uses 20x more electricity than the average American home (which itself uses much more than the global average) - the important thing is that I'm FOR energy conservation.

James actually talked about this in the Bible and he put it something like this: Talk is cheap - so is writing a check - what's needed as an actual change in the way you live. Of course I'm paraphrasing, but that's the essence of it. I appreciate Krauthammer's voice, inviting us to move beyond talking and writing checks, to actually changing the way we live.


At 21/3/07 23:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Dahlstrom-

Your post is quite convicting. I find it all too easy to fall into the trap of talking about issues such as social justice, environmental responsibility, and racial reconciliation, while continuing to go about life without giving the slightest thought to my actions. In fact, I often find that I listen to challenging sermons on Sunday, then live like I didn't even hear a word the pastor said on Monday.

I usually hide behind the excuse that life is busy and I have to get things done, but is it ever too busy take a few minutes to love my neighbor? Then again, I'm continually challenged while spending time in the Word and listening to sermons, so how am I supposed to work on everything the Lord challenges me with?

The Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak.


At 22/3/07 10:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you say about people only being "for" something rather than living it out is true, but I think the previous comment really hit the reason's hard to actually do something. Not just a little bit hard, but really hard.
Haakon and I have moved back to Seattle as a response to a direct call to actually live out our beliefs. We were too comfortable in the UK in our nice flat, great neighbourhood, and awesome city. But I have to say that right now as we deal with no car (we're going green with a bike, flexcar, and metro), living in a guest house with an 8 month old infant, and trying to find a house in South Seattle so that we can live in community and get to know the people we feel Jesus has asked us to love--it's pretty overwhelming. I can see why it would be easier to be "for" the environment and the poor, but still buy a car, live in Ballard, eat organic, and feel guilty every once in a while that I don't "do" more.
I used to be quick to judge others on this one, but now that we are really trying to live our faith in a real way, I can see why most people choose to take a slightly easier path.


At 22/3/07 23:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Davey and Jenny,

Our struggles are complicated at best. It seems this American society is set up to make us consumers. And the psyops continues to reinforce that notion on a daily basis. A few days after 9/11 what was Bush's message to the American people? Not go green, oh no. It was "go shopping" Keep consuming.

I like the Governor of Montana say about the situation. He says we need to figure out ways to make green cool. To be creative in ways to eliminate mindless consumption in your daily life. that is a good fight to fight. And understand it will be a long time before there is a shift in the thinking of this society from that of consumer to that of partnering with the earth ... and each other.

Further, I think it does no good to beat yourself up for not acting out a particular ideology. It seems to me opening oneself to their humanity is far more freeing that acting inside the prison of mere ideas.
Sometimes life squeezes you into lonely crevices and at such times you may be harsh with yourself and settleto be someone other than who you really long to be. So we do things based on survival. But your soul will always remains faithful to your longing to be who you really are.

Never cage mystery.

To think is to go beyond

At 23/3/07 23:18, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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