Monday, June 11, 2007


For Sunday's message this week, I was looking at some passages in the "Message" version of the Bible and came across a couple of passages that suddenly jumped out at me. That is the benefit of a different translation I guess. But to be honest, the Message doesn't always capture my fancy. Sometimes I feel that in the effort to become relevant Eugene (Peterson) actually loses the meaning of the text. And sometimes I read it and I find that it catches the meaning but makes it less emphatic than the original. But then other times (like this weekend) it puts a whole new spin on a familiar passage.

My point on Sunday was that we as Christians are living as exiles in a world that is becoming increasingly indifferent to Christianity. The word refers back to Israel's exile in Babylon where the ruling culture (Babylon) saw Israel as just one more culture among the dozens they had already conquered - no better and no worse and all quite irrelevant to daily life in Babylon.

This is how the world now views Christianity - a foreign, conquered system along with a dozen other equally irrelevant belief systems. How shall we then live in this culture that deems us insignificant and dispensable and completely absorbable. How do we not get absorbed? How do we get listened to? Paul says it this way (in the Message).

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2)

Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? (1 Corinthians 1:27)

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Scripture really does have a powerful message and will speak to this culture - even when spoken by nobodies and it will expose the emptiness of "vain imaginations."

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