Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shiny Happy People

In 1991, REM released the song, "Shiny Happy People":

Everyone around / Love them, love them
Put it in your hands / Take it, take it
There's no time to cry / Happy, happy
Put it in your heart / Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine.
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing.

While the song was a parody of a Chinese propaganda poster, it could well have been a satire of North-American Christianity.

It seems that we are obsessed with celebrity, wealth, power, attractiveness and success.

Even our counter-culture movements within the faith have their own celebrities.

Michael Spencer tells the story of a co-worker who certainly would not fit most people's image of the beautiful people.

One arm barely works. One eye is non-functional. One leg is almost immobile. He's deaf in one ear. One side of his head is terribly scarred. He's a soft-spoken, gentle man, but obviously life has not been gentle with him.

Yet this man is a spiritual giant.

Standing in front of our students, saying again and again that God is good. His suffering and loss can't be measured, but his faith has grown every step of the way. In his gentle, Minnesota accent, he says over and over, "God is good. I'm so thankful."

Jesus did not hang out with the popular folks. He spent his time with the outcasts, the untouchables. And those are the very ones that he built his church on.

So today, we spend our time trying to convince others that we are Somebody.

We spend money on our vanity, while others are starving.

We pour billions of dollars into entertainment to stave off boredom, while God is calling for people to participate in the greatest drama in the universe.

And we pastors are the worst offenders.

We've neglected the call to discipleship and self-denial and replaced it with the promise of a "happy life"—mostly because that is the dream that we are chasing.

God forgive us.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"


Samuel A. Jefferson-Edwards said...

Refreshing. Thank-you. I am glad I bumped into your blog.

ROD said...

Materialism is prevalent in humanity; it has no boundaries. Sunday I start a 13 week class on finances. The basic principles are (1) it all belongs to God (2) spend less than you make (3) rid yourself of a consumptive lifestyle. We all need to hear it.