December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas

I took a telephone survey and at the end of the conversation the man said, “Thank you and Happy Holidays.” I responded, “Merry Christmas” and after a pause he confided apologetically, “I’m not allowed to say that.” Obviously the man had to bow to the requirements of his employer, but rather than letting the conversation simply end with my Christmas wish to him, he found a way around political correctness. There are times we believers feel enslaved by the culture, but Paul reminds us, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to” (1 Cor 7:23 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----We think of putting on the armor of God as a defensive measure. After all, Paul says, “…that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:11) But “…contending against…” (vs. 12) is not a defensive function. The Greek word is literally “wrestle”. The only purely defensive piece of armor listed is the breastplate of righteousness. The shield is sometimes used to swat, and the helmet to “spear”. The loins are important for launching attack. And there is little that is defensive about the sword. We put on all this armor not to just “…withstand the evil day,” but to withstand it “…having done all…” (vs. 13.) We are not sent onto the battlefield to just stand around and be attacked.
-----This is where metaphor fails us. For the only purely defensive piece of armor, the breastplate, is righteousness. We are on the battlefield to attack, attack, attack. But if we do not attack righteously, we loss the charge. Righteousness is an intimate thing. This world is not one giant lump. It is complex system of units made of subunits made of sub-subunits, etc. For example, if your car’s is running a little bit rough, it isn’t righteous to replace the engine. It might be righteous to replace the spark plugs. Or maybe it would be righteous to replace the plug wires. Or a cracked vacuum line. The first righteous thing to do is analyze the problem to find its cause, then surgically attack that problem.
-----Having found the problem, the manner of attack is also important. I’ve busted my share of sparkplugs trying to extract them with a sour, pissy attitude. And if you take an arrogant, aggressive approach to opening up a carburetor, you might find yourself on your hands and knees sifting through the dirt and gravel for a tiny little ball check, slightly smaller than your kid’s Daisy B-Bs. Righteousness is an intimate thing.
-----Being intimate with your enemy isn’t normal. But look around you. Note from where normal comes. Who determines it? Yes, everyone pitches in a little bit to determine what’s normal and what just ain’t quite normal. Now consider what Jesus said about people. The road is wide with many traveling it to destruction. But the one to life is narrow with few traveling it. So guess what’s normal! Being intimate with your enemy works. It locates Achilles heels. Sometimes it even locates ideological or emotional keystones, which if dressed a little can cause peace.
-----I fear we’ve all been shown up by Donald Trump. Of course, the whole battle is not political. But much of our cultural battle has grown from just those roots. He did not sheepishly step back in self-defense like a few of us do. Nor did he run and hide like the most of us do. He stepped forward with the truth, most often, and although he swung something less than a very small pocket knife instead of a sword, he thrust it surgically, though definitely not righteously. Even so, the evil culturing our people has become so arrogantly self-assured that a few slices with a pen knife was all it took to draw serious blood.
-----Now, if we all drew forward to actually engage battle instead of taking to the front lines for a big defensive stand, things would get much different very quickly. And even though I am completely sure the Lord wants us being righteously aggressive, truthful and loving offenders (figure that one out for the key to winning not just the battle, but also the hearts,) although pushing the frontline onto enemy territory would please Him more than scuffing up His turf in a defensive backslide, even though He would be overjoyed for us to end the battle by constant, loving attack, these are His to do, because He knows we can not. We can only aggressively push back. And we should do that more.

Love you all,
Steve Corey