A feature in USA Today this week caught my attention. They highlighted a lip dub video from Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma. The 2017 video is a sequal to the school’s lip dub video that went viral in 2015.
Ordinarily I probably wouldn’t really care about such things. I may admire the artistry and the work that went into it, but after a viewing it’s likely I wouldn’t give it another thought. But this is different. Broken Arrow High School holds a special place in my heart. My family moved to Broken Arrow just before I started high school. I went to Broken Arrow High School for my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school; before our family moved to Nashville for my final two years of high school.
Though I did not graduate from BA, at least a part of me will always be a Broken Arrow Tiger.
Here is the link to the 2015 USA Today article highlighting the original video.
I don’t recall where or when I first heard following story, but it has often caused me to stop and ask myself about my attitude and motivations:
A man prayed to the Lord: “Lord, make me like you; may my words & thoughts be like yours; may my actions produce great fruit…”
This was his regular prayer.
Then one day a voice from within – perhaps the Holy Spirit, perhaps his own mind – simply said one word: “Why?”
“What do you mean, ‘Why?’ Lord, it’s a standard prayer!”
But why did he want to be like the Lord? Why do I want to be like Jesus?
1. So people will think highly of us?
2. For God’s Glory
3. Because the Lord is pleased with Jesus
How we answer makes a world of difference.
My thanks to Jared Wilson, not only for another thoughtful book, but for expressing many of the very things I would like to express. In his 2015 book, Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto Against the Status Quo, Wilson has written a book I wish I had written.
Here is an excellent resource for learning the Bible: The Bible Project.
In 2 Corinthians 8.7 the Apostle Paul challenges us to grow in the grace of generosity through giving:
“But as you excel in everything -in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.”
Within his textbook, Biblical Ethics, Robertson McQuilkin, formerly President and then President Emeritus of Columbia International University, likens personal giving patterns to personal maturation stages, as a metaphorical expression of spiritual maturity. McQuilken says the Bible teaches us that our giving patterns are “Jesus’ material yardstick for measuring spiritual maturity”.
In sum, here is the “yardstick”:
- Infancy: Non-giving
- Kindergarten: Impulse Giving
- Elementary: Legalistic Giving
- Secondary: Honest Managership
- Higher: Love Giving
- Graduate: Faith Giving
Senator Ben Sasse (R – Nebraska) addresses The Gospel Coalition 2017 Conference, with an address titled: What Has Washington to Do With Jerusalem?.
Sasse, a vocal opponent of Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee during the 2016 election, speaks refreshingly and intentionally non-partisan about the distorted role politics plays in the American psyche. Sasse’s thoughts are well worth the 36 minutes this video runs.
Since I already have some pretty definite opinions about the book, I thought maybe I ought to read it. My preliminary thoughts about Rod Dreher‘s The Benedict Option is that it offers a good analysis of the present states of both culture and Church, but Dreher’s solution seems more imposed than necessary or biblical. In other words, Dreher seems to have a fascination with the Rule of Benedict, and uses the current social climate as an excuse to encourage others to embrace it.
It’s not that I think there is no benefit from Benedictine practices. On the contrary, I was intrigued a few years ago when reading Dennis Okholm’s Monk Habits for Everyday People with a group of pastors with whom I would meet monthly or so. What I appreciated from Okholm’s work, and expect to appreciate from Dreher, are the categories of thought the Benedictine’s have developed. I appreciate many of their disciplines, and I can see that many of their practices could help cultivate a disciplined and rich spiritual vitality. However, the notion of withdrawal from the world at the root of Benedictine discipline, is not only an impractical option for most people, I am convinced that it violates Jesus’ command to his disciples found in John 20.21:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
And it is out of line with God’s expressed instruction to his people who were living in Babylonian exile, as recorded in Jeremiah 29.7:
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
In other words, despite some – even many – ideas worthy of serious consideration, and that might be appropriate to be adopted with some adjustments, it seems to me that The Benedict Option is not really an option for those who want to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. And Dreher himself seems to understand this since, despite the provocative title, he spends much energy explaining that what he is encouraging is the employment of some of Benedict’s principles without necessarily actually withdrawing into monastic communities.