Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Only Redeeming Quality is Imperfection

There is more than one thing my wife and I disagree about, but one of them is pillows.  She likes them - I hate them.  It's as simple as that.  For Petra, every good couch must have at least 5 pillows.  For me, every pillow that's on the couch decreases the value by 1 notch.  But my wife uses the couch more, so she gets her way.  And I'm fine with that.

But when I began experimenting with my new camera the other day, the pillow caught my eye.  I realized that it was the flaw in the pillow that attracted me to it.  Though if it were my choice I'd get rid of the pillows altogether, this particular cushion had a redeeming quality - its imperfection.

It reminded me of the passage that's recorded in both Matthew and Mark where Jesus has compassion on the crowd because they were like "sheep without a shepherd".  He didn't take notice because they were outstanding people - in fact it was just the opposite.  The religious elite were constantly being rebuked by Jesus.  But it was towards the poor, the needy, the imperfections of society that Jesus showed compassion. 

And those are the people who are redeemable. 

I'm at my worst when I think highly of myself.  But the times that I am reminded of my need for a Savior are when I am most satisfied.  My awareness of my imperfections are what allows me to be redeemed.  Thank God He is sufficient to cover my flaws with His perfection.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Sin of Sodom

One of my professors pointed this verse out to me a couple years ago: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor or the needy" - Ezekiel 16:49.  Talk about a rebuttal to the popular belief that promiscuity and homosexuality were the primary reasons for God's wrath on Sodom.

And it's not like we need to take tweezers to the Bible and pluck out one verse to back our claim that Christians should be concerned about the least of these.  As Jim Wallis points out, a Bible that does not care for the needy is a Bible with lots of holes.

But it sure is nice to be reminded of the facts that 1. followers of Christ should lead the charge to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the widow, and 2. that more and more of them are.

The New York Times just ran this piece the other day showing that "a growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion".  The fact that Evangelicals generally have become more socially conscious in the last decade is something Wallis called for and predicted in God's Politics.

While the change should be celebrated, it's no time to stop, lest we be tempted to look back.