From Across the Net – “This Is America”

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

“But, but, Jesus wants me to live my best life now.” I joke, but deep down I wonder if I sometimes believe it. Great piece from Things We Didn’t Know – about life & missions entitled “This Is America“.

If sermons in your church sound more like self-help, living your best life (“for Jesus” of course), or simply marital and family advice, then you need to be asking yourself some serious questions about what you are being taught.  Jesus warns in Mark that many will come to deceive in the name of religion.  They will say all the “right” things, dress in all the “right” ways, know the popular prayers and sayings and topics of the times, and they will be leading you astray from the path to Jesus.  Guys, Jesus never promised a “better life” here on earth.  Following Him is costly, dangerous, painful, lonely, unpopular, counter-cultural.  And did I mention that it’s also worth it?  *don’t quit yet, I promise I will get there.

You can read more here

 

 

The Fulton Incident

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Note: I came into contact with Jordan Ekeroth sometime last year when he started his Follow and Engage blog. A blog that was very near and dear to the mission I set out to accomplish with JBG. Since then, I’ve managed to keep up with him via Facebook and follow his exploits as a new writer for GameChurch. Via twitter the other day, I noticed that he was launching a book, “The Fulton Incident”, and so I thought I’d take it for a whirl.

The Fulton Incident

Jordan Ekeroth’s debut novel, “The Fulton Incident”, opens with a man who is barely getting by. Drowning in business and student loan debts, Josh Fulton, Ekeroth’s protagonist, is living out the new American dream. When not running an auto repair shop or pining away for the girl that got away, Fulton bravely goes on mission trips into the city to feed the homeless. Josh is a typical American leading what many would call a normal life, when he happens to notice a political figure at a local hotel. Armed with a camera, Fulton captures this figure with a woman who is not his wife. The lift hill of the roller coaster is about over at this point of the novel. The rest of of “The Fulton Incident” is a steep decent down a course filled with intrigue, suspense, and motorcycle-driven action. But is any of what Josh Fulton experiences real?

.: The Good :.

One of the subtle themes of the book is that of creating idols. In Josh Fulton’s case, her name was Angelica:

“They stood smiling at each other for a few moments and despite the cacophony of distractions surrounding them, neither was willing to break eye contact. Josh felt as though in those few moments, this girl he’d just met somehow saw deeper into his soul than anyone, possibly even himself, had ever seen.”

Angelica ends up going away. Josh never sees her again. He constantly wonders what and why all the while building her, in his mind, into something she could never have been. I’ve seen a lot of guys do this with women who have broken their hearts. I like how Jordan plays with this theme.

.: The Bad :.

“He told me that he had been so tired of the world that day. He had seen so clearly that he had been living for nothing but his own comfort. Everything that was his life: his job, his friendships, his hobbies, his religion, existed only as a system for him to avoid any real pain, and thus avoid really living.”

What does this mean? Are we relegating different pain levels?

When we first meet Josh Fulton, he is in a world of real pain. Lost relationships (Angelica, his parents), ticking time bomb finances (he could lose his auto repair shop), these are real pains.

How is Josh not living? He owns his own business, he is active in ministry, the guy clearly has a life. What about Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 –

18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (NIV)

There is a quiet undercurrent in this book that attacks the Christian norm. This is good. However, there is also the message that we can only find purity in life when we lay down our possessions and go live in the slums. Not sure about that.

Overall the book is a page turner, I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going to go next. By the time the story rounded into the station, I found my curiosity satisfied. “The Fulton Incident” is one heck of a ride well worth the $2.99 admission fee.

Radical 2

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I have continued reading David Platt’s Radical and have been enjoying it immensely. Some key thoughts that have struck me hard have been:

  • How the commands that God gives Christians fly in the face of the American dream. Take for instance the command to be fruitful and multiply. The American dream dictates that we need to have a good job, money, and a house before we embark on the journey of children. Sure those things make supporting a family easier, but they are not Biblical.
  • Also, how Americans tend to have a mindset that says something like “I don’t care about reaching people for Christ that live outside America” or “I’m not called to missions, that is what missionaries are for”. (This one is a bit funny as I got into a conversation like it at Bible Study recently.)

Continuing onward in my reading.

Radical

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This morning I started reading David Platt’s Radical. So far, I find myself agreeing with Platt in regards to the disconnect he notes between Christ’s radical calling and how we live as Christians. Good stuff. Anywho, as I have been reading, I have been keeping in mind a review I read of the book recently here. I’ll keep ya’ll updated as I progress.