Tag Archives: theology

Compassion Ad Get’s It Wrong

Compassion Ad in Leadership Magazine

I got a copy of Leadership Magazine in the mail yesterday. I forget why, but it showed up and so I started a quick skim through it. This ad caught my eye. Before I start, let me just say that I am a big fan of Compassion and the work they do. I’m also not bothered by using advertising and appealing to Christians in the USA to give. What I do have a problem with is the wording and what I see to be a direct contradiction to what Jesus says.

The ad on the left, with a picture of two young boys sleeping on a mat on the floor, reads:

They Are The Needy.

You Are The Blessed.

We Are The Pipeline Between.

Anyone who knows of Compassion can understand the appeal. Consider sponsoring a child through Compassion, since you have money and they need food, shelter and education.

However, this seems to be counter to what I read Jesus saying:

“Blessed are the Poor.”

Apparently, blessing and need are not mutually exclusive, and one can hypothesize, money might not be a blessing at all. This sort of language bothers me because it continues to create an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality and allows us to do acts of ‘charity’ from a sort of pious and self-righteous position. It’s along the same lines of my critique of mixing up the words “unsaved” and “least of these.”

I believe a more accurate advertisement would draw out of us an emotion of the need for justice, and would compell us to give not out of a place of privilege and superiority, but out of our own need to move ourselves from participating in injustice to justice. Jesus words to the “You” in this ad (the people with the money) wasn’t that they were “blessed”, no they were “woe”ed.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.”

So, what would be a more accurate advertisement? I’ll give it one shot…

They are Blessed with the Kingdom, but have physical needs

You have money to meet their needs, and wouldn’t it be cool to support the Kings and Queens of God’s Kingdom?

We are the Pipeline to getting you out of Jesus’ “Woe” category…

Do you have any creative ad ideas? I’ll email the best ones to Compassion.

Lying ‘to do God a service’?

I’ve been doing a bit of catching up on my Bible reading and have recently been hanging out in the book of Job. Now, you’ve got to wonder about the book of Job. Most of the time it’s summed up by a preacher in about three chapters (the first two and then the last one), basically they say: Job’s a good guy, devil asks to test him, God let’s him take away everything Job has and even gives him boils, Job doesn’t curse God, and in the end God comes in a violent storm and then returns to Job double what he originally had, the end.
What we barely ever spend much time on is the nearly 40 chapters of conversation between Job and his three ‘counseling’ friends. I could be wrong but I think that is the longest conversation that there is in the Bible, and it’s an definite argument no less. And I’ve been spending the past two days sitting in the midst of these arguing friends, and boy is it something.

I think there are a ton of situations where you could apply some of the wisdom found here, like don’t argue with someone who just lost everything, but I think you can figure those out. Instead, I’d like to just point out one of the interesting passages I ran across that I think might lend us some insight. (This is from The Message, I looked at the NIV too and I think it’s a acceptable translation)

Job to his friends:
“are you going to keep on lying ‘to do God a service’?
to make up stories ‘to get him off the hook’?
Why do you always take his side?
Do you think he needs a lawyer to defend himself?
How would you fare if you were in the dock?
Your lies might convince a jury-but would they convince God?
He’d reprimand you on the spot
if he detected a bias in your witness.
Doesn’t his splendor put you in awe?
Aren’t you afraid to speak cheap lies before him?”

Have you been there? Eagerly trying to ‘defend God’ with your human wisdom? Is that why we are so into apologetics and theological study?

I wonder if our lack of awe at this concept of god we argue the case of, is the very thing that keeps those we argue against from seeing the splendor and standing in awe of the true living God?

free-will vs. predestination: I’m NOT a robot.

I probably won’t get to my thoughts about the Biblical foundations about free-will and predestination in this post at all. Rather, I’d like to address one of the dangers that comes up when we start to get honest and talk about this subject. Listen carefully and you might pick up on which direction I lean.

First and foremost, I am NOT a robot. I know you where probably constructing your theories and questioning whether the pictures are real, but seriously I’m not. What I mean by saying this is to address the most common response I hear from people when they are presented with the idea of predestination. IF predestination is true they say, then no choice they make is their own, they are a robot pre-programmed for every action. Therefore, one might say, what is the use of doing anything? I’ll just sit here, cause obviously that’s what God predestined me to do right?
Whether I believe theologically in predestination or not, I am still personally physically and mentally making my own decisions. If I jump, sit, sleep, eat, smile, yell, or laugh, each I have complete control over those choices (whether I’m predestined to do them or not).
I’ll try to present a brief anology, but it will fall short of proving effective unless you do your best to stretch your imagination a little. The whole problem with an anology on this topic is it is an attempt to explain God with human consructs, I find that’s not quite possible. You’ve probably seen one of those magic tricks online where you read a series of things and then say the first word that comes to your mind, “carrot” and low and behold there it is when you scroll down the very word you where thinking of. The reason they knew is because people simply tend to choose that word. But they didn’t FORCE you to choose that word. Now, what if we just always chose that word, that’s just the way people are…would that mean we suddenly lost our free-will? Now multiple that infinity times.

To Be Continued… (In other words, at some point I WILL talk about which I believe [I’m not quite sure yet] and why).