The Fundamentals

Sometimes it is difficult for me to feel comfortable in the world we live in…and not just modern society because I think the times have always been evil.  I look at my shiny stainless steel gas grill in my backyard, the espresso stained IKEA shelves hanging from my walls, or even this IBM ThinkPad I am blogging from … such nice things, such convenient things, such blessings.  I wonder if kings and queens in the past ever looked at their fine possessions and ever saw blistered hands and broken backs silhouette from behind.  I’m guessing prophets had to play finger shadows for the royals who missed them.

It has taken me a while to realize my place in the world as an American consumer … as someone who enjoys the power and protection of a superpower state.  And in spite of all the concerns about civil liberties as of late, I am confident that we still have far greater protection and comfort than most people do in the world and have throughout history.  There is an idiom that says We stand on the shoulder of giants; I wonder if those giants include my brothers and sisters in China who work swiftly and repetitively in warehouses and factories–fueled by hunger and the hope that their country will rise to head of the international table.  My grandparents worked in textile factories.  My father and his siblings cut their hands assembling silk flowers in bulk when they were young.  And now I live in relative prosperity and comfort.  I do stand on the shoulder of giants.

It is a complicated world we live in, and knowing too much about it can not only paralyze your faith but also your humanity.  Is there such thing as too much injustice?  I can only guess that it takes a lifetime to investigate such an inquiry.  Yet ignorance seems irresponsible and maybe even less human.  Maybe that’s why we need faith in an omniscient God.

There is something deeply unappreciative in not enjoying weekend grilling, not displaying nice things on the shelf, or not being productive on my computer.  It would be like tossing aside a silk flower because my dad worked hard and drew blood assembling it.  And perhaps worse, it ignores the fact that God is the giver of all good things.  Jesus lived in human flesh and saw worse things than I have ever even imagined, yet he never seemed to flinch from thanksgiving and praise, drinking and eating with friends.

Trusting in the providential God.  Thanking the God who gives good things.  Fearing the God who hates the marring of his image.  These are the fundamentals of living in this world.

2 thoughts on “The Fundamentals”

  1. Funny, I’ve been struggling with some of the same questions this week.  We are kind of thinking of the future and setting out some new goals – just thinking where in the country we eventually want to settle (thinking of Colorado because it is so beautiful there) and not taking a new job with his company because of all the overtime it will entail – maybe even looking for another job if this one gets too intense.  Just about what our goals are – to live happily, in a beautiful setting, with our primary focus being on family, not a job.  But then I think – is this a responsible Christian way to live? – maybe I just feel that there is so much suffering in the world, in a way it is only fair if he works the killer over-time, because so many people in the world have it so much harder – how dare he walk away from this job just because it is demanding too much of him.  Do people in third world countries worry about ENJOYING thier jobs?  Of course not – they are just struggling to feed themselves and thier family!  So do we just walk around always feeling guilty?  Looking for suffering?
    It is so strange to live in such prosperity – and I feel that this in many ways has anestetized Christians to understand what kind of suffering Jesus spoke of – or what it means to live sacrificially.  I don’t know.  I know it is God who gives good things – and we are eager to praise him (this is really the first time in our life we have had this kind of financial security).  Our lives are very joyous right now.  It’s hard not to always be looking around the corner for the next disaster though – are things allowed to go this well for very long?

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