Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cultural Obsession #1: Money

I talked in my last post about trying to figure out what our cultural obsessions are so we could try to use them as a bridge to present the gospel to people in our society. I asked if you could help me think about what some of those cultural obsessions might be, but no one wanted to play along. So, I'm left on my own here.

And I've managed to come up with a couple.

I think our society is obsessed with money. This is so much the case, that our standards of wealth and poverty are skewed beyond belief. I make decent money, live in a very comfortable house and drive reliable vehicles. I choose what (and how much) I want to eat on any given day. I have more than one pair of shoes, more than one pair of clothes. I'm sure I am wealthier than 90% of the planet.

And yet I feel poor. I rarely have enough at the end of the month to really do the things I'd love to do. We'll have to scrape and skimp in order to find enough to take the family vacation we want to take in April. Television ads constantely bombard us with the idea that there is a good life somewhere out there that we're missing out on. Money holds an unyielding grip on our attention as a society.

I suspect money may be for us like clever speech was for the Athenians.

So, how can we make use of that obsession as we attempt to faithfully deliver the message of the gospel?

It can't be like those quacks on television who say we have to be wealthier than others in order for people to take us seriously, can it?

I wonder, though, in our age of runaway consumer debt, what it would be like if Christians were the ones who had their finances in order. What if the whole world was running around like crazy, up to their eyeballs in credit card payments, mortgaged to the hilt, and Christians were the ones who always paid their bills on time and had enough to spare at the end of the month?

What if Christians saved so much money that they had enough to really fund a search for a cure for AIDS?

What if Christians had so much money that they could finance educational programs for entire nations, bring in drinkable water and feed starving people abroad and in their own urban centers?

What if Christians were the wisest people on the planet when it comes to money -- personal AND corporate finance?

I'm thinking we could use that as leverage to present something this world wants and needs to hear.