Thoughts on mediocrity, poverty, and micro-loans.

I just started reading this book called "Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard". It's a compilation of segments of his writings, ordered by topic; slightly more accessible than reading his complete works. Kierkegaard's got some strong words for the 19th century church that are just as applicable today. Case is point:

"The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism - no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet."

He talks about faith being trampled "amid smiling, Christian politeness." I read this, and all I can do is cringe, not so much because I see it all around me (which I do), but because I see it in myself. Brutal.

On a more positive note, my pastor here has been doing sermons about financial responsibility. How can that possibly be positive, you ask? Well, he's recommended a couple great websites to check out. My excuses for not giving usually boil down to either "I don't want to just give a handout." or "How do I know what their doing with my money is really worth while?" But each of these organizations seem to be using the money wisely, in ways that will really make some long term changes.

One -- The main goal here is to end extreme poverty by raising awareness and by pressuring world governments to follow through on the 1% gdp pledge they have already allocated but have resisted actually giving toward ending poverty. Check out the declaration and sign on to join the movement.

Opportunity International -- This group gives small loans and training to people around the world to help them start their own businesses and become financially independent. You can't argue with that. It's a good thing.

Compassionate Ministries -- Okay, so, I've heard many a guilt trip from places like these complete with pictures of big eyed children with flies on their faces. But, despite my general discomfort with these advertising tactics, I think they are doing good. Every kid deserves a decent education and, of course basic health needs and care. And, as a little perk to the giver, we get little notes and pictures from our kid.

Lastly, a little plug for my cool friend Jackie's "$100 a Month" blog. Giving just $100 a month can make a big difference. Join up.


Raychung22 said...

Thank you for your honestly. Good to know that we're continuing to learn and grow each day.

Peter said...

Isn't it amazing to see how the "cordial drivel" has affected people's attitude toward the church? There don't seem to be that many people outside the church who take it seriously any more. Even many people inside the church don't seem to take it seriously.

Art said...

I just went to look for my "Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing" by Kierkegaard but it is not on the bookshelf. No doubt it is boxed away somewhere. Oh, for the day when I can have all of my books properly shelved and at hand!

So, instead of citing Kierkegaard, I'll cite C.S. Lewis, who says that because we have taken God seriously at the outset, we may, at times, treat life as lightly as a game.

For this kind of person, Christian politeness is never cordial drivel. It is always recognizing that every person we come in contact with is made in the image of God and, as such, deserves to be treated with politness and kindness.

It's more than a question of taking the church seriously, it's a question of taking God seriously.

Of course, what Kierkegaard is talking about are those who have not taken God seriously and are puting on a smiling front.

The real question that I have to ask myself is, "Do I really take God seriously?" or "Did I used to, but have I drifted into mediocrity?" The answer determines whether I am real or fake, genuine or just a shell.

Jackie Bolen said...

Betsy! I want more blog entries! Soon! If possible! If we can't talk in person, then abundant entries will maybe make me miss you less???

mipa said...