Moral Contradictions

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hummer at church

I stood baffled in the church office last week when I watched a family climb out of a Hummer with new tags. Firstly, in this day and age of high fuel prices, why would someone buy a vehicle that comes with an Exxon station as an option?

Secondly, I wondered about the witness of excesses. My wife told me how a fellow seminarian and her family were moving to a smaller house - not because of financial reasons, but because they simply did not need that large of a house. They felt their money could be spent in better ways.

I read Colossians again the other night and was struck, as always, by Paul's commands in the 3rd chapter of which my Bible titles "Rules for Holy Living":

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

In my weird and twisted mind I tied seeing the Hummer, reading that passage, and the following comment left on another blog:

I believe fundamentalism among Baptist is illustrated by those who allow their wives to spend money getting their hair fixed, wear gold and pearls as well as expensive dresses, but refuse to allow them to teach men or pastor a church because Paul condemned that. I know this is a long sentence, but so was Paul's when he said he did not all any of the above.

I wrestle with these paradoxes in this blog - they are pervasive in our culture and have infiltrated our church, yet the Bible seems to clearly address these contradictions.

Sure, I may not have an adequate understanding of economics and other issues - but I know enough that we cannot simply write off certain situations as "that's just the way things are". Denying reality and eluding our responsibility accelerates the inevitable consequences of accepting or tolerating mediocrity.

We as Christians are not called to accept the status quo, but to challenge the norms that are often-times justified as being a part of the American way of life. Just as so many are quick to condemn homosexuality, abortion, and the hot issue of the moment, if we truly believe the entire Bible, we ought to be quick to condemn the sins Paul addresses in Colossians.

A sin is a sin is a sin - a sin separates us from God, and any number of actions can accomplish that unhappy state.


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