Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’
Affectionately termed “Black Friday” by U.S. consumer retailers and popularized by the media, the day after Thanksgiving is the official launch of the retail holiday season. It is the day that retailers hope that sales will put their businesses in “the black,” rather than “the red” and is supposed to be an economic indicator of the entire holiday shopping season.
Retailers know the allure of a sale, the ongoing state of the average American’s pocket book, and the inherent tendency of human nature to buy what we do not need but wished we had. Black Friday has become a quintessential hallmark of American consumerism.
Last December, I found myself almost entrapped with the same magnetic pull of a great sale for a flat screen television. Only one problem…our very old TV still worked (although had/has its quirks). We really did not need a new TV. The barrage of sale advertisements did not make it easy to decline.
Don’t get me wrong. I like a sale just like anyone else and enjoy the pleasure of giving gifts to family and friends at Christmas. However, I also recognize the seduction of “more,” “bigger,” “better,” and “quicker.” Entrapment to bigger and better is one of the most accepted forms of cultural bondage ~ inside and outside the American church. Read the rest of this entry »
I said in the previous post that I was going to offer a follow up blog entry related to the pastoral implications of the Gnostic temptation. In brief, the Gnostic temptation is…
the attraction of an otherworldly kind of existence when faced with the genuine risk of forming unhealthy bonds with aspects of creation that can lead to addictive and destructive behavior that enslaves.
I now want to discuss some of the pastoral issues surrounding the Gnostic temptation. The purpose is to suggest discipleship practices need to be formulated in such a way as to help individuals avoid this temptation. Believers must
- Learn to love creation rightly
- Learn to love their bodies rightly
- Learn the difference between creation and “the world”
As a perspective, Gnosticism essentially is a denial of the fundamental goodness of creation. It’s appeal is for a wholly otherworldly place and experience. It is the longing for heavenly realities coupled with the struggle with earthly realities that forms the heart of the Gnostic temptation. What turns the longing for the glory of eternity into Gnosticism is simply the overreach. Can you long for glory too much? If that longing turns into a hatred of the human body (including your own), a rejection of food and drink, a rejection of marriage and the goodness of sexuality, a complete disavowing of culture as corrupt in its essence, it may just be too much.
Let me explain what I mean further. Read the rest of this entry »