Thursday, May 21, 2009

That’s the World for you... Avoiding Being “Little Minded”

Listening to mainstream FM radio is often amusing and enlightening, if not a challenge, morally. I heard a talkback discussion on one show regarding ‘souveniring’ versus ‘stealing’ on holiday and when the two might meet. A woman ringing in mentioned she goes to Bali every six months and ‘always “souvenirs” some hotel stuff,’ and when one of the announcers challenged the woman of taking advantage of a struggling[1] tourist economy, the woman retorted, ‘It’s okay, I throw them into my husband’s bag!’ as the studio went up in raucous fits of laughter. They even used it as a loop in plugging the program for the next day’s listeners.

There are a couple of things here for us. One, we see a very broad range of morals displayed in the world--so, why would the above even surprise us? But in some ways it should horrify us (referring to the injustice of stealing from the poor, among other moral issues). Secondly, the FM station (like almost all of them) is peddling an immoral standard of humour that we can all find humorous if we’re not watching ourselves. We’re all apt at losing our way in moments without thought. Like mainstream television does, and now radio, we begin aligning with the ‘broad range of morals displayed in the world.’

And when these morals fall to a standard that doesn’t respect humanity universally, we’ve clearly departed from God’s will and the best outcome for all.

God’s standard of holiness is respect for all, regardless of circumstance. This is where the world misses it; ridicule at the expense of others--producing ‘humour’--is the classic symptom.

But the key trap for us (Christ-followers) is the indignation we give way to in being disgusted and judgmental; and thereby falling into a sin ourselves. (Little wonder non-Christ-followers call us ‘judgmental.’)

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do [with].” Similarly, Balthasar Gracian said, “It is preposterous to take to heart that which you should throw over your shoulder.”

And what is it we do with a pinch of salt? Exactly! We toss it over the shoulder not giving much of care to it as the little granules fall their own way. There’s no shortage of little stuff we can get ourselves into, yet we do so at our peril. And that’s the world for you... what more would you expect?

The key to all of this is picking what’s little stuff and to be expected in a world lost in sin from the really important issues that threaten our godly way of living, pulling down social justice and our structured and peaceable existence.

Call me a cynic if you would, and I try not to comment on much of this stuff... the world is quite a vulgar place at times and Christians are called to a higher and holier standard, and not only to live in ways that would please God, but to live in ways that reveal God to people who wouldn’t ordinarily know him or see him.

We’re all--Christians that is--trophies of his grace at the end of the day.

Judging the world is a little minded activity from my view of things. Continuing to shine the light of God onto that corrupt world despite it… this is what we’re called to.

To do this we must keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) as he is found in the Bible and through the Holy Spirit and prayer. His Presence is always there and always provides the right way in every context.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Bali in many respects has never recovered from the 2002 Bali bombings; it should be patently obvious to anyone visiting the area to respect the people of Bali such that such holidays can remain a thing of the future for all to enjoy. By the way, I’ve never been to Bali and don’t plan to go.

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