HT: DefCon reader Julie
Don’t know if anyone else has watched this, but you need to.
It tells how much is spent on Christmas presents in America every year. And how much it would cost for everyone to have clean water.
The difference is staggering.
May God open our eyes, if that is possible. And let our selfishness be defeated.
If Christmas were about giving, this would make sense. But Christmas never was about giving. It’s about getting. Getting love, acceptance and admiration from those who we want to love us. Or to put it another way: Buying friendships, buying forgiveness, buying status, buying love. But giving to something/someone else which gives us no personal satisfaction or return? Where’s the cost effectiveness in that?
Obviously the video is a naked propaganda piece intended to instill, and then prey upon a sense of guilt, but among the ironies evident was that instead of making a point about eternal priorities, and the broader dissemination of the Gospel, it focused on a temporal social justice issue; solving the world’s “water problem”. This is no surprise since a group of po-mo emergent “conversationalists” are pushing the idea.
I guess it would be a real shame to let people go to hell thirsty – but I digress since the other major irony is that if you act now you can buy the Advent Conspiracy DVD from Zondervan for the low, low price of only $19.99! LOL!
I’m sure all the DVD money will be miraculously turned into water (or wine?) a la the wedding feast at Cana…
As far as Christmas being about giving, it depends on the “Christmas giving” one is observing.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
At this time of year many Christians especially remember and celebrate the miraculous and gracious gift of the Incarnation of Christ, rejoicing as a handful of shepherds, and a heavenly host once did upon His arrival many, many years ago (Luke 2:1-20). And while the precise date of Christ’s birth may remain in dispute, the wise men didn’t honor and worship Him on His exact birthdate either, yet their worship and the gifts they brought were nevertheless genuine and acceptable (Matt. 2:1-12).
The posting of this video on DefCon was not intended to suggest that the world’s greatest need is clean water above that of the gospel. I posted the video to remind everyone about our perspectives and our priorities. As Christians we should be the one’s leading the charge of charity (with the main goal being the furthering of the gospel), not secular and governmental organizations, and we should be doing it all year long, not just at Christmas.
If it takes a video like this (or even a talking donkey) to remind me that my priorities are out of whack (seriously, $450 billion on presents every year?), then so be it.
This video as well as other things (like this book) was just another confirmation to me that I can no longer justify living as I have been while the world is dying without Christ. This video was just another confirmation that I don’t want to instill selfishness, greed, and covetous behavior into my children every December 25th . . . undermining all my warnings against selfishness, greed, and covetous behavior that I’ve tried to instill in them the rest of the year.
You may view the video as dubious propaganda, however, I view it as yet another convicting reminder that while I live like a king in opulence and gross prosperity, there are billions of souls who are starving to death without Christ while good Christians do nothing.
I lamented for such a long time (and still do) about the fact that there are so few churches out there teaching truth anymore. But now I’m beginning to see that within those churches that are teaching truth there’s very little orthopraxy to back up their orthodoxy, and the Apostle James also saw a problem with this.
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (James 2:14-17)
I’m sure you know this already, but my indictment of the video and its not-so-subtle aims were in no way intended as an indictment of you, or your decision to post the video, nor was I inveighing against your personal convictions and burdens.
In point of fact I think the video showcases much of what you, and I, and others, have lamented not only about Christmas, but about the church in general – a “look at me” consumerism under the guise of piety. I think I’ll write a book about that… :)
Here’s the thing about Advent Conspiracy and those behind such [oh so commonplace] media relations feel-good social gospel purveyors – and this is only one man’s opinion – but if they were truly sincere about working out their faith with fear and trembling, and doing the good works that are commanded of all believers, and which adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, they would just do it and not blow their trumpet to be seen of men.
I’m thinking; “Just do it man, and don’t worry about the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing. Do your service as unto the Lord, without seeking the notice of men.” If, for example, I’m busily creating multiple snazzy java-enhanced web based videos, and for-purchase DVD sets designed to point at me, and my ministry, and all that I’m doing for the Lord, and I frame it as a not-so-subtle indictment of everyone else who just isn’t giving as much as I am, and who just aren’t as serious as I am, and who are just unwilling to give it all up like I am, then perhaps I have my reward.
That’s manipulation. That’s guilt-tripping. The Lord’s people are to give freely from a heart that desires to give of their own substance (time, money, possessions, etc.) in loving obedience to the Master. The moment those things are coerced, manipulated, or guilted, they are no longer done out of love, and desire to honor the Lord. Therefore they cease to be a “want to” (Godly desire) and become an “ought to” or “have to” (legalism).
I know we can speak frankly like this publicly and without guile, bitterness, or hard feelings because we’re brothers. By God’s grace maybe it will make for good conversation, and provide material for reflection for DefCon’s readership as well.
I can see your point, and I trust that you can see mine.
In Christ’s love,
Pilgrim and Coram Deo:
As I see it, this video exposes several elements worth addressing. Pilgrim, you are absolutely right that in most cases of what we see around us in Evangelicalism, priorities have become seriously askew. There has been much “playing church” and “playing theologian” with heavy focus on orthodoxy, and precious little orthopraxy. And because of that, the world has come to view Evangelical Christianity as all talk and no action (hypocrisy). Worse yet, the abuses within Evangelicalism, with their megachurch palaces of pleasure, rich lifestyles, political lobbyists, media moguls, etc. have made the concept of “Christianity” all but a repulsive, bankrupt religion. So, there is a definite need to live out our profession in tangible ways, and show the world what Christianity really is. And I fully agree with that.
But I also see what I believe Coram Deo touched upon, and it’s something I’ve been deeply concerned with for some time: not just the inevitable backlash return to a social gospel, but a more sinister manifestation of it that the Emergents have been heavily pushing: a social gospel with a different “jesus” attached to it. This “jesus” being rallied behind and promoted to the world along with their benevolent acts is an ecumenical, sometimes gay-friendly, anti-fundamentalism, anti-foundationalist, non-judgmental “christ”, who is more deeply found in contemplative prayer, and mystical practices. Indeed, mysticism and asceticism is a big part of their return to “orthopraxy”.
And I do have some concerns about how Mr. Platt fits into this. I can’t fault what he has said. He is right. But I can easily see the Emergents promoting his book as well for their own agenda. And I expect to see a resurgence of interest in Francis of Assisi, as well as other benevolent acting, self-denying Catholic saints in Emergent circles.
Forgive my poor, limited analogies, but it’s as if a sub-dermal infection has been exposed that needs to be excised in a very careful manner. It can’t stay as it is, for if ignored it will kill the body. But if it is let loose, it can easily become a raging epidemic.
Thanks for listening to the Spirit of God when He convicts you of sin. It is our sin, this selfishness. This lack of love. This focus on holidays while the world starves to hear the Word of God.
I concur with CD about the video, however, I know the God uses a myriad of things to reach us where we are, as He did with you, Pilgrim.
My point is this: We are so brainwashed that we think giving to charity is giving. James never thought of writing a check and sending it in, or clicking on the internet to give. He spoke of getting up close with our brothers next door, down the street, across town, and knowing them so well that we know of their needs. That we’ll meet one another’s needs not as charity, but because we can’t stand to see our brother right next to us suffer. And anyone who has been truly in need, and I don’t mean missing out on our Starbuck’s lattes for a few days, knows that it is always those less fortunate who are more willing to give.
Tragically, we are still far from God’s will in this area of giving. The tithing taught in our churches allows this mindset, versus the Scriptural NT standard of giving…
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