Well, I certainly didn’t expect the emotional responses to my previous two blogs. A number of you took exception to what I was saying, and that is fine, when the rebuttals are respectful. Some were unprintable, name-calling, and by-the-way, “anonymous” which I don’t post.
But I wanted to respond to the general thrust of those who disagreed and then we’ll be done with the subject.
The main issues were the following:
1. “The OWS people aren’t really saying that profits and people are contradictory.” Well, I would agree that there are probably some who don’t think so, but I have spent years and years with university students and I can tell you truthfully that many have been infected with the common Marxist thinking that pervades our universities today. It may not always be on top, but it is certainly there underneath: corporations and profits are evil; the pie is fixed, if someone has become wealthy, it is because they have exploited someone else; one gains, another loses. That is why profits are evil, because it has been snatched out of the mouth of another. When the OWS folks chant “people over profits” I would submit that they are conveying directly or indirectly this kind of thinking. I wanted to address that.
2. “The OWS people are rightly pointing out that our economic problems have come from the greedy corporations.” I agree that there is greed in corporations. I also agree that there have been ridiculous compensation packages for CEO’s. If I were a stockholder in those companies, then I would have the right to speak out about that and I hope that I would. But I would contend that the OWS folks are barking at the wrong tree.
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thess 4:11-12
A lot of media time and space has been given to the OWC (Occupy Wall Street) protests around the country and the world. It seems the whole thing was instigated by Adbusters, a Canadian anti-establishment organization, with the intent of bringing down American capitalism and its consumeristic culture. It has now grown into a hodge-podge of folks with a mind-numbing array of signs, slogans and emotional, viscerally charged, demands.
Watch this clip and you’ll get an idea of how random, ill-informed and adolescent this movement is.
Because of this randomness, many commentators are at a loss to put a single focus on these protests.
Let me give you one: greed.
In general, many are there to protest the greed of the top 1%, corporations, banks, bankers, etc. etc. etc. But the irony of it all, is that they want what others have. They demand it!
This is greed.
(Or greedy lust…pick one!)
The young man in the clip wants somebody else to pay for his tuition. Why? His answer? Because he wants it. And, he has the right to want it…and the right to demand it.
(Please excuse this next comment, but it just seems to be so very, very appropriate.)
The only thing missing from this picture is a diaper and a pacifier.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would agree with anyone that would judge modern culture with being too fixated on material goods. I would agree with anyone who would caution people and a culture against lust and greed. But to yell and scream against greed by greedily demanding what the greedy have seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy.
The other common thread in these protests is the clear underlying notion that the hired gun for those who want what others have is the state. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that the current administration has voiced support for these protestors. Why not? It just means more power and control for the state.
And more dependency for the citizenry.
The passage in Thessalonians is a seldom quoted passage but it is very instructive to us as Christians: mind your own business, work, gain the respect of others, don’t be dependent upon anybody.
Should we be surprised when the world and our culture chants the opposite?
I’m in Tennessee this week, but hope to write next about the OWC slogan: “People before profits”. You might be surprised!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
It’s March 9, 2011 and I’m in Fort Lauderdale filming two of our most difficult Cross Examine shows. Both deal with the sphere of labor—God’s design for the blessing of being a creative steward—working with His goods to produce that which is good and true and beautiful.
However, these shows deal with two industries that produce that which is evil and deceptive and ugly.
The first is the abortion industry. We interviewed several people who were prominent in this business before the Lord opened their eyes to the depth of its horror. What they have to say will be quite shocking to many.
But, when you look at it as a business, much of what they do makes logical sense. It aborts babies to make money—lots of money—plain and simple. From that perspective, it isn’t surprising that we were told how the abortion industry pursues a number of “marketing” and operational activities to increase profits: -through distribution of poor contraceptives; -through “sex education” programs to break down sexual inhibitions; -by making women believe an abortion is the best option; -by deceiving women into thinking “it’s just a blob of tissue” when after every abortion the staff is in the back room putting little baby parts together; -by telling women that “it won’t hurt at all” when they know there is a great deal of pain, complications and a later post-abortive syndrome.
It’s a tough show.
And I know it will be a tough show for many women who have been deceived in the past. We did not produce this to casts stones at the women. In fact, I tried, as best I could, to encourage them.
But our hope is that it will provide an exposure to this industry such that fewer and fewer will be deceived in the future.
The second show deals with the sex industry.
"See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri…and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship…He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers--all of them master craftsmen and designers.” Exodus 35:30-36Not long ago I had the privilege of going backstage with David Simpich. David is a master puppeteer who has a theater in Old Colorado City. We were there to film his story for Cross Examine.
David grew up under the tutelage of his very talented parents, whose Simpich Dolls became collector’s items around the world. I have long thought of them as the “Norman Rockwell of Dolls” for their creations were the simple snapshots from everyday life around us.
But David went through a little crisis.
He learned how to make Simpich dolls, and was good at it, but he just didn’t think that was the vocational pathway for which God had made him.
That wasn’t easy, for the Simpich Dolls were famous and the business was thriving. And isn’t that what a son should do? Carry on the family business?
This was in an article from the November 2010 “Church Around the World” bulletin: “Findings have surfaced with ominous regularity: members of the clergy suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”The article states that public health experts are unsure as to why “so many members of a profession once associated with longevity have become so unhealthy and unhappy” but they conclude that the solution is to “take more time off.”
That may be true, but I would like to offer a second opinion.
Certainly, I would not disagree with the notion that we need a Sabbath rest. God worked six days and then He rested from that work. He made us to do the same—work, then rest. My son-in-law is serving in Afghanistan, working 16-hour days, 7 days a week. He has no choice. But we aren’t made for such a grind. You can only save so many oxen in the ditch before you will find yourself collapsed in there as well.
But is it hard work that has changed the state of our pastors today?
Is it, as the article states, the rise of cell phones and social media that have overloaded pastors and changed a profession from healthy & happy to sick & depressed?
That has to be a factor, no doubt, but aren’t we all laboring under the increased weight of technology that keeps us on an electronic leash no matter where we go?
Some might think that it is the change in how our culture views the clergy—they don’t enjoy the same “honor” they used to. But is ill-health and depression due to low poll numbers?
But let me offer another factor. In reality, it may be only a minor factor—but I believe it is quite significant.