Ashley Madison and Fallen Leaders

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2015 by jcwill5

I was greeted this morning that R.C. Sproul, Jr., a noted Christian leader and theologian, had been outed as a user of the adultery-facilitation website, Ashley Madison.

It made me terribly sad, even if it didn’t surprise me the way such things used to do.

Here’s the link to the breaking story:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/august/ligonier-suspends-rc-sproul-jr-over-ashley-madison.html

Ed Stetzer provides a helpful approach to those churches with a leader outed on the site.  Here’s the link:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/august/my-pastor-is-on-ashley-madison-list.html

Let me offer first a disclaimer, and then I’ll offer some of my own observations about Ashley Madison and why even highly revered Christian leaders were drawn to it.

My Personal Disclaimer

I am not morally superior or inherently better than anyone who has fallen.

I cast no stones, even though I confess to a deep sadness over this news–it’s a wound to the entire body of Christ and to Christ’s reputation in our culture.

Having been in recovery from a sexual trauma experienced in childhood, I am keenly aware that, on account of my greater vulnerability in this area of life, I have been specially protected by God.

Like everyone else, I have a sin-monster within me.

Part of that monster is my propensity to over-notice feminine beauty, my propensity to store and gaze upon sexual images in my mind, and my capacity to develop attractions towards other women who are not my wife.

Admitting this openly is part of self-outing my own sin-monster, and allows me the grace to live like I’m weak and terribly vulnerable instead of pretending I’m invulnerable.

So I take precautions, observe limits, live within healthy community, build up my marriage, and guard both the eyeball entry gate to my soul and fight unholy images with holy images.

Observations About Ashley Madison

So, with all that said, let me make some observations about Ashley Madison.

First, the users are overwhelmingly male, and females are fairly rare on it.

The provocative image of a gorgeous woman with a finger on her lips, promising to tell nobody about the fulfillment of illicit fantasies, is a dead giveaway.

The site is primarily about male fantasies, most of which probably aren’t consummated in actual adultery.

Ashley Madison is really are just another kind of digital pornography site.

Second, their guarantee to remove the identity of users for a special fee is telling.

Part of fantasy is secrecy and the ability to control who knows and who doesn’t know.

So Ashley Madison caters to this whim as well.

Finally, these fantasy-based promises are lies.

The reality is far less happened in real life than most male users wanted, and, with the hacking, all the secrecy has been blown apart.

Now painful reality is breaking forth upon the fantasists.

Their names are out there for all the world to see, and all who have compromised their morality or positions of trust are being outed.

As Moses said, “You can be sure your sins will find you out!”

Pressure at the Top

So why were Christian leaders using this site and engaging in mostly fantasy and some acting out on adultery?

I think the simplest answer is this:  we don’t do well spiritually in a high elevation life.

When people occupy high positions, receive adulation and praise from followers, carry heavy responsibility and bear the highest expectations, it becomes jailing.

And as the pressure grows, and the gap between their personal brokenness and what’s expected of them increases, they begin to look for an escape.

And that’s often true in their families and marriages–which are supposed to be perfect and above all problems as well.

And that fantasy of escape from their unhealthily entwined, spiritually toxic church and marriage life quite frequently turns towards sex.

Illicit sex is the fastest way out of the pressures of home and ministry, and therefore the strongest tool a self-sabotaging person has in their arsenal.

Lonely At the Top

I think another part of the answer is how utterly alone it is at “the top”.

Leaders are usually very isolated and deeply lonely.

They have little time for their spouse and children, and can never quite get away from the demands of their high-elevation position.

Personal vulnerability, sharing of real issues and struggles boiling in their own souls, is not rewarded but punished by adoring, spiritually sick followers.

The reason is such self-disclosing soul honesty destroys the fantasies of the followers.

It requires followers to take responsibility for their own sin-monster instead of vicariously living above their own level through a leader.

It destroys the two-level, more comfortable universe for them–leaders live above so they can live below, leaders live high so they can live low and get away with it.

So where can these mighty rams we call leaders be little lambs in the arms of God?

Where can they be flawed human beings with a fallen nature, who deeply need community and regular public confession of sin and repentance as a normal part their Christian life?

They mostly can’t–and that’s a huge problem and also feeds unholy fantasies of escape.

Sick People Pursuing Spiritual Health Together

I say none of the above to justify betrayal or sexual sin.

Rather, I want us to understand the soul dynamics behind self-destroying leaders who override all their values, beliefs, and morals to pursue fantasies of escape.

So pray for your leaders–already fallen or vulnerable to a fall.

And work to de-fantasize your church culture, recalibrate expectations about sin, and head towards a culture of radical self-honesty.

Allow and expect leaders to practices of confessing sin, of repenting early in the sin cycle, and of needing to immerse themselves in a mutually vulnerable, self-disclosing community.

If we do that, we’ll not only have less fallen leaders, we’ll have a whole bunch of spiritually healthier followers as well!

Elevator Music Religion vs. Heavy Metal Faith

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2015 by jcwill5

I had a funny thought pop into my brain the other day….

“What some people want out of church is an “elevator music” kind of faith!”

To be made comfortable, to be lulled and soothed and petted and stroked, is the goal of Muzak religion.

Here the consumer is king, and the goal of innocuous, ignorable “background music” is to facilitate shopping by creating a pleasant mood.

It’s artificially cheery, and they convert yesteryear’s wild songs into a steady stream of insipid vanilla, sanitized for your purchasing pleasure.

I think we do that to God, as well.

We smooth down His “rough edges”, polish Him up, and repackage Him for easy listening and comfortable living.

He’s now domesticated, predictable, and exists to give us an enjoyable, affluent life that validates what we already believe and applauds how we already live.

He’s grown eminently ignorable, and, of course, completely contemptible–just ask any musician how he or she feels about the perversion known as elevator music.

For the elevator music religion folks, He’s their ultimate Cruise Director of life, their therapeutic Dr. Feelgood in the Sky, their great Validator who’s there to 2nd our willful, self-identities.

This kind of God is there to get us out of jams, the Heavenly Handyman who’s there whenever you need Him to fix things.

He’s their Great Genie, the Fairy Godfather who exists to grant us our wishes and fulfill our dreams, the vending machine that dispenses religious goodies to those offer the coinage of religious performing.

He’s their “God is love” mantra, their ever approving, never judging, open-to-everything, divorced from His Word, modernized and immoral hipster buddy.

Or is He?

Speaking for myself, I want and need and long for a heavy metal God–wild and free and untamed and dangerously good.

I want to hear His power chords, His building crescendos and clashing finales and satisfying resolutions, echo in my mind forever and ever.

He’s His true Self–unshackled by my agendas, unchecked by my whims, unbound to my ego-goals, and positively threatening to my ego-centrism and self life.

He’s not an enabling nice guy–He’s ultimately good and perfectly holy and absolute Judge of the Universe–who cannot be bribed or influenced by my manipulations.

He’s not safe or tamed.   Not at all.  Not ever.

Like many heavy metal songs, He’s unafraid to address good vs. evil, and addresses the hardest realities and greatest battles of life head on.

(Now, having been saved out of a heavy metal rocker lifestyle, I’ll insert a brief disclaimer. I realize this genre is a flawed analogy, and many messages of many songs in it contain whacked out, lame, even evil messages.  I chose it for one simple reason: it’s the opposite, stylistically, of elevator music.)

He’s Downright Scary–and That’s Good!

He’s amped up and mind-blowing.

He scares our establishment, striving, suburban parents.

He scandalizes our conventional, performance-based, image-driven, country club churches.

He makes our control-loving institutions and leaders nervous because He blows up human control, judges systems, and causes nations and societies to fall.

He calls out hypocrisy and exposes secret sins–and already knows everything about us without asking and without trying.

We are literally naked at all times to His all-seeing eyes.

God at War and on the March!

He’s not only a tender nurturer of the broken soul, but a terrible Warrior who will overthrow the existing world order with an appalling level of eco-destruction and mass die-offs.

He’ll reveal Himself in such devastating splendor and terrifying authority that people at that time will hide themselves in caves and holes and wish for the mountains to fall on them (Isa. 2).

Then He’ll cleanse and reorder and beautify the planet and take over the personal reigns of government where His word will be law and final.

Before that happens, His plan is to redeem as many as possible out of the current evil system and to infiltrate Himself through us behind enemy lines to prepare for His invasion.

His call on our lives is therefore unavoidable, His pursuit cannot long be evaded, and His ownership over us is indisputable.

We’ll come face-to-face with Him sometime or another.

Our Choice

So, which will it be–designing for ourselves an elevator music, easy-listening religion, or an encounter with the heavy metal-like God of the Universe that shakes us to our core but redeems us in the end?

Healing Our Cynicism

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2015 by jcwill5

How easy it is to grow jaded!

As our youthful ideals of “how things ought to be”  collide with a fallen world full of fallen people, we are disappointed again and again by life.

Things never quite seem to measure up, and people not only let us down, they betray us and deeply fail us.

The Premature Cynics

For some, this happens early.

Parents, guiding institutions like the school or the church, and whatever else we believed in were inept, hurtful, or even abusive.

Life handed us a “bigger than us” problem when we the smallest and the most vulnerable, and our guardians were not there, caused the problem, and/or made it even worse.

To grow cynical early in life is a deep tragedy.

The Gradual Cynics

For others, we leave our parents’ home with the high ideals of young adulthood intact only to find corruption, selfishness, back-stabbing, and power plays all along the way.

Evil bosses, stubborn spouses, disappointing communities take their tell.

For awhile, we tell ourselves, “it’s just those people–we can still find the goodness we seek somewhere else!”

So we seek a change of career, or a new spouse, or another kind of community–and smack into the same fallenness that bedeviled us elsewhere.

The reason is the problem is also within us.

Cynical About Our Selves

We disappoint ourselves, fail ourselves, and have a root of nasty selfishness and positive attraction to evil that we decry in others.

We take ourselves with us wherever we go and whoever we’re with in whatever situation we’re in.

Some spend all their days blaming everything and everyone else.

It is never daring to take a fearless self-inventory that strips away all the excuses, all the finger-pointing, and all the justifications we use to evade, avoid, and abscond from the truth staring back at us in the mirror.

This is where depression often arises later in life….or redemption.

How Are We Healed of Cynicism

So what can one do to stave off, or be reclaimed, from cynicism?

How can we be healed of our jadedness and recapture the joy of childhood, with its wonder and spontaneity and soul freedom, once more?

The answer is both simple and far from simplistic, child-like but not childish.

It is to choose absolute honesty and total vulnerability, and to bring our powerlessness and our yuck to One who promises to love us at the bottom of our lives.

It is to find, in Him alone, the perfection and goodness and free-giving love we so desperately need but cannot self-arrange.

Taking the Risk of Vulnerability

Like a hermit crab shedding its protective, borrowed shell, we come spiritually naked and utterly exposed to a God who sees all and who already knows all about us.

For those traumatized early in life, He longs to take us “back there” and pour His love into “that place” underneath our thick shell of control.

For those who have lost their idealism and their hope, He longs to wean us from these false hopes grounded in fallen people, and escort us to Himself as the sum of all hopes and the summit of all desires.

Here is someone we can trust no matter what, no matter how bad things look, to right everything in the End and redeem every pain and every wounding evil we have endured.

Jesus says, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not see the kingdom of God.”

He also says, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost.”

The Way Back Home

Admitting we have lost our way and are lost souls, and choosing to come to Him as a vulnerable, love-needy but naughty child looking for restoration, is how it happens.

So, admitting our cynicism, we begin with a prayer, “Dear God, what have I become?!  I don’t want to end my days a jaded, calloused, cynic spewing forth bitterness and nastiness.  Please help me!”

The Wasteland of Affluence

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by jcwill5

For thousands of years, keen observers have noticed the correlation between affluence–times of plenty and flowing wealth, and spiritual poverty.

A New England puritan Cotton Mather restated a old Latin proverb like this:   “Religion brought forth Prosperity, and the daughter destroyed the mother.”

Or, as the book of Proverbs puts it, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” (Prov. 30:8-9)

As alarming as the rise of the “nones”-those who sense no need for God and live as if He doesn’t exist or even matter-might be, this outcome is the normal effect of affluence on the soul.

The Upside of the Prosperity Cycle

We humans have this perpetual, deeply rooted love of autonomy, self-sufficiency, and being our own god.

We love being in charge, in control, and in command of our own lives.

We think we’re enough for our self, can solve any problem on our own, and know what’s best for our self (and everyone else, too!).

And affluence, ease, and creature comforts, especially luxuries, grease the skids along this path.

We draw the false conclusion that we’re the reason, we’re the point, and we’re the center of this affluent world we inhabit.

And then we are in spiritual poverty.

The Material Prosperity Downcycle

There’s an aridness on the inside, an emptiness that exciting experiences and craved purchases cannot fill.

We grow tormented by boredom and meaninglessness on the downside, however smug and indifferent we are to our soul and to God on the upside of the cycle.

Then we get frenzied–we try harder and end up having no fun at all.

It becomes a grind–this bloated, dissatisfied self of ours we take with us wherever we go and cannot leave behind however hard we run away.

Towards the bottom of the affluence cycle, our lives our frenzied and desperate and the normal pleasures and possessions don’t avail us.

We are stuck, out of control, enslaved, and unable to escape.

Waiting for the Time of Collapse and Exposure

To the question, “Where is God in all this?”, the answer is “He is patiently waiting for us to come to the end of ourselves and for our affluence to utterly fail us.”

Jesus used a story of an affluent hoarder who suddenly dies to illustrate the folly of accumulation and withholding good from others.

God tells the protagonist, “You fool!  This night your soul will be required of you.  Now who will enjoy all you’ve saved up?”

And Christ told the story in a culture that saw prosperity as proof of blessedness and betterness over others.  As we do.

To a church that was indifferent and materially prosperous, He upbraided them for not knowing how miserable and poor and naked and blind they were spiritually.

The Way Out and the Way Home

Christ’s advice to them is His advice to us as well.

He pointedly advised them to see their self-sufficient affluence as a sham, to come to His “grace store” instead, and to purchase spiritually satisfying things at no cost directly from Him.

In other words, we are under the terrible folly of thinking real life can be purchased or experienced through self means.

The truth is the God life is a gift, a gift given to those who admit their spiritual poverty, humble themselves, and come to God as a spiritually naked beggar.

So, just as affluence sets us up for spiritual poverty, the spiritual poverty of affluence can set us up to profoundly reconnect with God in the desert of prosperity.

Jesus puts it this way, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This act of turning back to God is called, “Repentance”, and it’s a most humbling but necessary step if we’re ever going to recover from the spiritual poverty of affluence.

But if we do, we are promised a welcome home and are called blessed by none other than Christ Himself.

In fact, we are promised the entire kingdom of heaven!

Unlearning Middle Class Values

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2015 by jcwill5

My parents were ever striving to improve their socio-economic standing.

As children of the Great Depression, their youthful dreams were dreams of affluence and of being able to afford denied luxuries.

For them, having an orange or a banana to eat was an exceptional treat.  (For me, they were unwelcome additions to the school sack lunch that were often thrown away.)

They used to make a list every New Year’s of the material things they wanted to buy each year.

Then they bought those things, often on credit.

And they often paid top dollar to be one of the first people on the block to have a color TV or a microwave.

Striving for affluence was therefore an unspoken mandate that our mainline Presbyterianism never challenged or questioned.

There was a definite downside.

My parents both worked so we could have more money and buy more things.

They never comprehended the searing pain of being alone so often, of yearning for presence and protection and not having it, of wanting someone to disclose my heart to but having those moments missed by the time they got home.

Strangely enough, I would have gladly traded a lot of affluence to have them around more.

Less gifts of things, and many more hugs, would have done me a lot of good as a boy.

But the unspoken mandate was strong.

To have a larger house, several cars, a well-maintained yard and stylish home decor–to enjoy the well-earned good life–was a compulsion.

Little did they understand the child sacrifice that the god of affluence, greed, and ceaseless striving would require of our family.

In the end, it was empty–especially for me.

The Upside

Yet there was a very good side to my parents’ Middle Class American values.

My dad taught me the values of hard work, of persevering, of doing a quality job, of showing up on time and giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage.

We worked together on many home projects and he modeled what it looked like.

I grew to love working hard, to value completing projects, and to know the satisfaction of persevering until the job was done.

I learned to be a productive worker, to show up on time, and to be reliable–just like him.

He and my mom were willing to put out a great deal of money to insure that I got the best education and received many other kinds of enriching life experiences.

It is why many Americans succeed, invent things, found companies, and astound the world with the hours we put into our jobs.

My Own Journey

Fast forward to recent years of financial hardship and diminished affluence in my own life.

In these years of striving for employment but not finding much financial return, a personal Great Depression has gripped my soul.

It’s as if I have been tried by the court of Middle Class success, and found wanting.

Despite many efforts and initiatives, I have not pulled myself up by my own bootstraps.

My wife isn’t working so we can afford more, but so we can stay afloat–breaking the Law of Male Providing and the Law of Middle Class financial sufficiency.

It’s been a torment to my heart–but one in which the root cause was hidden from my eyes.

The Eye-Opening Season

About two weeks ago, God opened my eyes.

He showed me I have a deeply embedded horror of poverty, a horror passed down through the generations from my middle class and farming forbears.

To be in poverty, by these Middle Class values, is to be lazy, incompetent, and failing.

It is a shameful condition and always blameworthy.

And I have not been able to work my way out of this degrading status–however much I tried.

So I asked a question:  How does God feel about the poor, about those in poverty?

Funny enough, He loves them!

He has a special place in His heart for them and extends a special measure of favor to them.

In a word, “Blessed are the poor…”. (Matt. 5)

In another, “Has not God chosen the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of His eternal kingdom…” (James 2)

He was not putting me into a shameful status, denying my desperate cries for help, and abandoning me to it.

In retrospect, He has been seeking to break the reign of unbiblical Middle Class values in my heart in order to set me free from their tyranny–because He loves me so much.

In His hands poverty was not a horror to be escaped, but a precursor to an encounter with His love that might otherwise have been missed.

He doesn’t need me to be a successful member of the American Middle Class to love me, and He will up His love rather than withdraw His love in the presence of poverty.

It’s a truth that could set many of us free.

Big Ego Trumps All

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by jcwill5

It’s not surprising that it takes a larger-than-average ego to think one could ever be the leader of the free world.

To run for President of the United States gives one a fantastic platform for grandiosity, ego-posturing, pontificating–a spectacle for the entire world to see and react against.

Big Egos

Big egos have always been around, especially in the hallways of power and heights of society.

Folks who are richer, more successful, and climb higher than most are tempted to think the world revolves around them.

They frequently clash with other huge egos, and we are treated to ego-driven battles in government, business, and every kind of organization.

Due to this, they say too much or pick the wrong fight, and end up looking like fools and/or falling from the heights in a very public way.

This is nothing new or particularly alarming.

Super-Charged Egomania

What seems to be new in the United States is the intensity and grandiosity of ego in our public culture.

It’s pride on steroids- unchecked, unchallenged, and vastly inflated.

In a name, Donald Trump.

I don’t think Mr. Trump is unusual in his narcissism, grandiosity, and need for attention.

What’s unusual is both the degree of it and how the platform of running for President in the Republican Party primaries is adding fuel to his ego-fire.

The irony about such super-charged grandiosity and narcissism is how infantile and toddler-like it is when it is thwarted, challenged, disagreed with, and blocked.

And the sad thing is this:  it’s hard for other big-ego politicians to call him out on it without pots calling kettles black coming to mind.

Egomania Contradicts Conservatism

I’m not sure what appalls me more:  Mr. Trump’s angry ranting, or the fact that so many so-called conservatives are eating it up and finding a vicarious thrill in hearing him say things they agree with and getting away with it.

In former days, the sensible side of conservatism would never have tolerated such childishness or such juvenile displays.

It would have been beneath the movement, and would have violated one of the cardinal virtues we are trying to conserve:  humility, a sense of smallness and sinfulness in the sight of the infinite and holy God before whom we will all give an account.

A conservatism without the fear of the Lord, detached from confession of sin, repentance, and working in humility to protect what’s worth protecting and save what’s worth saving, is little better than the spendthrift, destroy-all-that’s-old, liberalism it’s trying to hold in check.

In other words, egomania and grandiose narcissism are a complete repudiation of the very best of conservatism, a putrid contradiction of all that’s good, holy, beautiful, and worthwhile.

How Can So Many Not Get It?

I openly wonder how otherwise sensible, grounded people can’t recognize this truth, or understand the full nature of the challenge in play.

And I think the answer is a decades-long indulgence in unchecked political anger.

An anger that’s been growing and growing, fed by outrage-fuelled talk radio and an endlessly ranting cable TV news, until it so dominates the souls of dissatisfied conservatives that it literally defines them.

So when Donald Trump rants against certain ethnic groups, makes sexist comments with abandon, and doesn’t care and won’t apologize, he becomes the hero of the anger-dominated, rage-driven subgroup within conservatism.

So his poll numbers keep going up.

Trump-like Pride is the Essence of Evil

For me, Donald Trump captures and neatly symbolizes everything that’s wrong with our political culture in the United States.

And pictures a cancer eating away at conservatism as well.

Grandiosity, narcissism, and ego-trumpeting are not virtues to be applauded, or qualities to be celebrated, or strengths deserving of votes.

They are the quintessential essence of evil itself–even the sin of pride behind all other sins.

God help us all!

Great Recession Reactions

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2015 by jcwill5

My parents were small children in the Great Depression (1929-1941).

My father grew up on a small farm and recalled entire months when food was hard to come by.

My mom grew up in a very narrow, inner city townhouse in a poor neighborhood, and remembers having multiple relatives and borders staying there a great deal, displacing her from her bed.

Two Reactions

“Depression babies” were marked by the terrible economy and reacted in one of two ways:

They either tended towards spending as little as possible as long as possible, or they spent their money while they had it because it might not be here tomorrow.

My parents fell into the latter group, while most of their peers fell into the former group.

Deprivation formed them and marked them as people, and the fear of repeating the experience haunted them all their lives.

Which made me think of today’s young adults who grew up during the boom times, and then collided with the Great Recession during their teens.

There are, of course, contrasts.

My parents grew up sooner than otherwise, and had great responsibilities early in life.

They had few devices beyond the family radio to distract them, and so joined with other neighborhood kids to do group activities like sandlot baseball.

Today’s young adults, by contrast, have grown up in a device-saturated culture which made personal relationships unnecessary for entertainment.

They are not, therefore, joiners but loners.

They’ve also been largely protected against heavy responsibilities early in life, and are thus finding it difficult to transition to the deep commitments and sustained responsibilities of full adulthood.

Similar Times, Similar Tendencies

But I think, despite all these real differences, the underlying bi-polar reactions to economic deprivation are the same: grab all you can while you can, or hoard all you can for as long as you can.

Unlike the children of the Great Depression, the majority of them belong to the “indulge now” response instead of the “hold onto it all” response.

But there is yet another similarity:  an obsession with the material, with seeking and having material affluence- even if it’s impossible to obtain.

Beneath all the hipsterism, with all its environmentalism and obsession with organic food and edgy looks, is a yearning for the good life of their parents.

It’s almost as if their counter-culturalism and progressivism is a facade that disguises their lower economic prospects.

The Great Omission

Instead of being spiritually minded, this generation is marked by their utter indifference to the spiritual life and their unwillingness to make the personal sacrifices needed to attain it.

To be fair, part of their make-up also reflects a rejection of their parents’ hypocritical blending of faith with justified greed and unashamed affluence.

That being said, both the Great Depression and the Great Recession were times marked by economic deprivation and new poverty.

Both of those times were obsessed with regaining material prosperity, and the fear of losing it again (or never recovering it).

The Correction

And, in such times, gentle voices are needed to correct this material obsession and life-long misdirection resulting from it.

At such times, we need to hear these timeless words, “What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world but lost his soul? And what would a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The yearning for a better world, the deep desire for recovery and restoration, are not bad desires in and of themselves.

Our mistake is to think politics and economic adjustment can ever bring them about.

The truth is there is a better world coming, and a time of incomprehensibly good recovery and restoration to the pristine that haunts us even now.

And this world is pre-known and pre-experienced in the now through spiritual means, through the inner life with God.

The Path Home

The Great Person we’re  yearning to set us free and put everything right isn’t a President.

It’s Jesus Christ Himself, though many of us don’t realize the Who behind the Want.

In other words, it’s not our environment that’s to blame but our twisted, grasping, rebellious, self-absorbed, never-satisified souls.

Our poverty is first and foremost a poverty of the soul.

Materialism, and the reaction against it, are both doomed to utter emptiness and disappointment in the end.

They cannot cure our soul poverty.

The real revolution will therefore be a revolution of the soul.

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