Thursday, May 11, 2006
  Foxes in the Henhouse...
or something.

Dan Phillips at Team Pyro drops some science about how women in church can make things... difficult for the brothers.

Now you should know that he's not excusing the weakness of men or blaming women in any way. And he's not suggesting (in as far as I can tell) that women should all wear burlap. And I'm also sure that he's not talking to women who are a)not Christians and are visiting a church or b)new converts who may just be unaware.

I, like him, think that people who go to church should dress modestly and not just in the church. There's plenty of scripture to back that up (and he provides it). And I'll go so far to say that that modesty doesn't apply just to sexuality. I see men and women going to church wearing suits/shoes/etc that cost more than I make in a month. Could that money better go elsewhere? This rule of thumb can also be applied to other expenditures (cars, houses, toys).

I'm not trying to add new laws and I'm not jealous (okay not much), but think about it. How are we to live and what message do we want to send? We're talking about spiritual warfare in church and how the little lies we hear lead to big sin. I think one of these little lies might be, "If people think you're prosperous and you give God the glory for it then that's okay." Or maybe "God wants his children to be well taken care of financially. He's a good provider." Neither of those things are necessarily untrue, but they can rapidly lead to a prosperity gospel

I'm not saying that Christians who drive Hummers are bad Christians or even bad people (though unless you're wearing olive drab I think it's in bad taste). I am saying that we are to glorify God in all we do and say and maybe someone needs to sit me down and 'splain the glory in 3 MPG.
Well said.

Personally, I think sexuality gets a bad rap in church. There's nothing wrong with the healthy expression of it - it's the abuse of it, or of anything, that I'd argue against.

Having wine with dinner occasionally is fun, and nice. Jesus did it, and he brought out the best stuff for last. Having wine with breakfast is worrisome.

Similarly, sexuality, when responsibly explored, seems very natural to me - but then, I don't buy into the whole "human bodies are shameful" thing.

But what I liked and responded to in your post was the notion that being a Christian might require an over-all dialing down of prosperity or, perhaps more accurately, the display/exercise of it.

Can you be prosperous and a good christian? Isn't it easier to stick a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to get Rupert Murdoch into heaven? Does the staggering amount of good that Bill and Melinda Gates do with their foundation cleanse/partially redeem the economic, technological, and social difficulties/quagmires/questions that companies like Microsoft bring up?

Is the practice of a simple, unadorned life a central tenet of Christianity? It would seem so, based upon scripture. How do we reconcile this with a culture that likes their crucifixes diamond-studded?
Sexuality does indeed get a bad rap. I'm reading CS Lewis' the Four Loves (I re-read it just about every year) and I'm in the chapter on Eros. He differentiates between Eros and what he calls Venus. Eros is waht we call love when someone is "in love" romantically. Venus is just sex. He says that the two together are not necessarily virtuous nor is Venus by itself necessarily bad. I agree with that. Nothing wrong with sex. It's good stuff, thank the maker, and I try and engage in it at every opportunity. It is justified or not by as CS says,"keeping or breaking promises, by justice or injustice, by charity or selfishness, by obedience or disobedience". IOW it's what you do with your sexuality, if it hurts someone else in some way that really makes it wrong.

And I think you can indeed be prosperous and be a good Christian. I mean there were wealthy property owning Christians in Acts adn what did they do? They gave to others out of their surplus. They didn't go out and by a Mark IV Chariot with 20 inch rims. So if you get rich for the sake of it or use your wealth to pad your... pad I think as a Christian (or for that matter as a person) you need to ask yourself some tough questions. And as you rightly say even if you give a billion a year in charity, is that billion dollar expenditure really hurting your bottom line, or as it is in Bill's case, helping it. Are you using charity to assuage guilt.
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