Posted by: amylamb | August 15, 2010

An Attempt to Redeem My Critical Mind

I confess that I am, by nature, a cynic. A stubborn one, at that.  I recognize the danger of these tendencies in that cynicism does no good unless it acts as a catalyst for positive change. So, I often attempt to counteract the effects of my overactive mind by recording a list of questions to research in my free time. Since I’ve had an abundance of that in the past two weeks, I also have an abundance of questions. Maybe they’re presumptuous or naive, but I have a sneaky suspicion that avoiding these questions would be settling for mediocrity and I’m not okay with that. So, for what it’s worth, here’s what I’m working through:

1) Why is it that so many Christlike people tell me to “be safe” when Jesus told us to pursue danger? (See Matthew 10:16). Shouldn’t followers of Christ seek to be wise without shrinking back from danger? What does dangerous wisdom look like?

2) Why would a college education be worth it if it is merely for the purpose of increasing our standard of living? Shouldn’t we accept God’s gift of prosperity only by giving it away? What is so outrageous about a cap on one’s lifestyle to enable the free giving of what has been freely received? In short, why are we so materialistic and why can’t we step out of it? How do we give as much as we have received when we have received so much?

3) What is the purpose of church if we have little to no fellowship with the lost?  I agree that fellowship with believers is critically important, but is the church losing its value if its members are not individually engaging the lost beyond the walls of the church?

4) Why are we so afraid of change when it’s the very thing we have to do in order to fulfill our basic role on this earth – to establish the Kingdom of God?

5) Why is church so complicated?

6) Does turning the other cheek and 70 x 7 forgiveness apply to issues concerning international relations? For what should we fight and for what should we forgive?

7) I love America and I’m grateful to be a citizen. However, I don’t agree with many of the ideals it is now embracing in the name of freedom. So how does one reconcile faith, freedom and patriotism?

8) Can the hours we spend on fanhood / fanaticism for the sake of entertainment (i.e., sports, celebrities, etc.,) be considered idolatry? Should the status of your particular preference have the right to affect your emotional and mental well-being? Is there a difference between entertainment and enjoyment, and where do you draw the line?

9) I am well aware that standards of righteousness do not translate cross-culturally. So how should we maintain our convictions without sacrificing the necessary degree of cultural relevance?

I do not claim to have the answer. I do not claim there is an answer. But I cannot forfeit the question for fear that I am missing something. Perhaps we are missing something. And if we are, I want to know. So here’s the questions for today- what’s your answer?

Soli Deo Gloria.



  1. Thought provoking to say the least…..

  2. 1.

    As Americans we enamored with comfort and security; we hold tight to everything material, even our relationships. We do not like the idea that someone who is valuable to us may be lost to us because they decided to go serve in an orphanage in Damascus. We are Moderns, zombies that live only to eat, sleep, acquire, have sex, and reproduce others who do the same. The vast majority of Americans never reads a book after high school and never goes to anywhere “dangerous” except on a vacation and even then they stay in the “safe zones.” We have a bad view of Heaven and what is to come; many of us simply do not want to go to what common perception of Heaven is, a “big eternal worship service in the clouds” without bodies where we don’t have any memories.

    Yes, we should pursue danger if that is where the Lord calls us to go. We should not go looking for trouble, but surely trouble will find us. We don’t go and do something just for the thrill of danger, but if God asks us to risk it all and head out…then well, we ought to do it.

    We are materialistic because that is what we really believe in and worship. The average Christian worships on the altar of consumerism more than a Muslim prays to Mecca. We cannot give away what we cherish more than Christ and his kingdom. Possessions are what give us our safety and security; they are what ensure we will be taken care of when we are sick and dying. We don’t live by faith anymore, heck most of us have no idea what that even looks like (except seminary students)

    Andy Stanley said at the Southern Baptist Pastor’s conference that churches need to be concerned more with the people they are reaching than the people they are keeping. He is right, if what we truly desire is to bring people to Christ, in a truly saving way, then we need to concentrate on reaching them and not worry about what Christians walk out the door. Those are the folks we probably don’t want anyway (I have been one of those folks!) Reaching the lost involves relationships but the church has given us mixed signals on this: yeah we are supposed to be their friends, but only to win them to Christ. That does not sound like unconditional love to me; we don’t win them anyway.

    Change disrupts our comfort and security and forces us to live by faith. Change has the potential to go horribly awry, but we forget that it can also be amazingly good as well. Church does not embrace change quickly because we are afraid of accidentally embracing a crazy heresy or becoming *gasp* liberal.

    There are not enough words; or maybe there are too many words.

    I am peacemaker, meaning that I am one step up from a pacifist. I allow for the defense of other individuals who are directly in danger. I am not however, for using force to secure one’s or one’s governments best interests. I don’t that Christians are called to be soldiers in the United States military where their loyalty to God is undermined by belonging to the United States government. To have a conflict of conviction on the field can get people killed. Plus, our allegiance should only be to the true King, Jesus Christ and his kingdom. We should be patriotic but not nationalistic.

    And no, killing all the Muslims will not solve our problems.

    We are foremost citizens of a true, literal Kingdom of Heaven. It is not some nebulous, quasi-real phenomenon; it is a real country. We are ambassadors of our King. Our job is to work for his best interest in the world on his behalf. That means that we can be a part of politics as long as we are willing to say no to the United States if it conflicts with the mission and vision of our King. I do not pledge allegiance to the American flag; I will pledge allegiance only to the King of Kings. I will be respectful of American and its laws. I will seek to improve America’s way of life (not necessarily its standard of living) and I will live and work and serve here. But my ultimate loyalty is to God and his Scriptures who reveal his truth.

    My pastor said something really good this morning, “Anything that you run to for satisfaction, before you run to God is an idol.” Entertainment is fine, as long as it is not distracting us from serving and following Jesus Christ. If we spend more time on Facebook (idle time) then we do reading the Scriptures that is wrong. If we have to be entertained every waking hour of the day, that is wrong. If our entertainment seriously compromises our convictions, that is wrong. We are far too easily drawn to entertainment when we should be studying, praying, and even writing to glorify God.

    This is not easy to address because even in the United States we have different definitions of what “modest” is. I think you need to acquiesce to where you are at as far as the definitions of what biblical standards are. You stand on the truth of the Scripture but if being a little more “modest” opens doors with people in a culture, then it is worth the modesty. Always, remember that is not about you but the people you are trying to reach with Christ.

    All that being said, I think you and I should guess write on each others’ blog. I think it would be hit.

  3. Have you been reading the book Radical? I just finished it and he talks of most of these questions and challenges to the true gospel too. God is moving and stirring with Truth and purifying.

  4. The fact that you have been silent in the blogosphere is not cool Ms. Wright, not cool. 😉

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