Consermism, Black Friday and The Church

In Church, community by ChrisMarlow3 Comments

jesus.jpgSo today we stop and rest and think about how grateful we are. Then tomorrow we’re back to being Americans, ready to run over other people in order to get a DVD player for $50, even though we already have 3 DVD players at home and 1 in the car.

Hearing people camp out for 3 days to get their little hands on a Playstation 3 is quite embarrassing. Maybe the worst “characteristic” of America is consumerism. Why are we determined to “get” stuff all the time? Now to be honest, I’m also a consumer, I buy things that I do not have to have. I do have an iPod and an iBook, I buy stuff like that and by no means do I think it’s wrong.

When I think of consumerism, I think of being in a constant state of spending. Spending that is based on emotion and credit card use. I have been down this road before and I had to repent. I no longer use credit cards, because I always find a way to “max” my cards out. I “justify” why I need stuff that I don’t really need.

So consumerism is a huge issue in America today. I can’t help but wonder how the church should respond to this. I wonder if we haven’t added fuel to the fire? Do we spend to lavishly on stuff that really doesn’t matter? By no means am I advocating legalism, I just think as Christ followers we have to be aware of the culture that we create. Yesterday I was working in the ghetto of S. Dallas; I could not help but feel like I’ve let some folks down and so has the church.

So how can we as Christ followers respond to consumerism? Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Do you really need what you are purchasing? Will it end up in some storage facility in 4- months?
2. What is your budget, has your purchase been budgeted?
3. If you are purchasing something on a credit card, and it’s not a true need or an emergency, and you can’t pay it off within the first month, then you have to ask yourself if you’re making wise choices with your finances.
4. Are you giving your money away? Are you tithing? Do you allow your resources to be used by others in need? Are you a giving person? I have a rule, I almost always give stuff away. I never want to “sell” anything to a friend. I think it’s important to just give.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things I can add, but I do want to say this, When you look at your budget, it truly is a great indicator of what you think is important in life. So take time and ask yourself some tough questions, because the church (which is you by the way) has a true responsibility to be givers, and to be counter-cultural to this phenomenon called consumerism.

My buddy Ken (along with his lovely wife Brenda, which are some of the most generous people I know) reminded me that tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day. Now, I would not say that you can’t buy nothing; and I think “buy nothing day” is extreme. I guess I would say, if your going to buy, just be wise, and understand that being a good steward is a good thing.

Thanks

In Family by ChrisMarlow2 Comments

When I think of Sabbath, I really think of days like today. A time to stop, rest, think, and ponder the many things that I can be thankful for.

So I thought I would simply express what I’m thankful for today:

  • The 30 or so family members coming to hang today…It’s been a long time since we could all be together and celebrate the holidays.
  • Necole, Bailey & Mackenzie….True blessings.
  • God-there are times when I feel as if God is distant, or silent, I’m in one of those season as we speak…Yet the gospel is exploding in my Spirit. It’s been a difficult past few weeks, we lost a HUGE business contract, but I know God is my provider. And in that I will trust.
  • Friends-We are now spread across the world, but I love and care for all the friends that I have. I hope everyone has a meaningful holiday today. Take time to rest, and enjoy the moment.

Life can be tough, but, in it’s essence, life is good. So today I’m celebrating the goodness of life.

Peace & Love from Austin

Dallas

In Family by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

So we headed out a bit early to do some work in Dallas and hang with the family for Thanksgiving. Traffic was a disaster, but hey, we are here and that is cool.

Although, it’s hard to feel like it’s the holidays…It’s close to 70 degree’s and sunny. Not that I’m complaining, it’s beautiful, but it’s not winter.

We hope to be back home on Friday.

Peace & Love from Austin

Hello

In Articles, Book Review, Books, Church, church planting by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

PlanterPlanet.com is an aggregator of other church planters. I’ve followed planter planter for the past 6 or 7 months. It has been great to hear stories of what God is doing across the globe, via these planters and their teams.

So I thought I would jump in the fray and I emailed the PP admin, only to find that my buddy John is the dude backing this site, funny, who knew! Thanks John for taking time to do this and allow other planters to connect. I can’t help but think this website has been a blessing to so many.

Anyhow, I just moved to Austin and I’m looking to plant a church in the near future. I have a few doors open and it’s going to be a fun ride for sure.

I’ve just moved from Blogger to WordPress and I’ve added some recent posts below. I’m looking forward to future conversations.

BTW-If you want to subscribe to my blog here is the  feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/MusingsByMarlow 

Peace & Love from Austin!

I’m doing a mini blog series on The Church.

Book Review: In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.

Book Review: Simply Christian.

More Bad Press

In Church, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

So I was browsing ESPN this morning while drinking a fresh cup of Ruta Maya coffee and I saw this: ESPN.com: Page 2 : Mood swings across the NFL.

The writer begins to discuss the Baltimore Ravens, he has this to say about Jesus & Ray Lewis:

Ray Lewis: Baltimore’s defense played well Sunday with Lewis on the sideline, proving once again how much God’s Linebacker truly is like Jesus Christ. Because just as Jesus wants His followers to live like Him even when He is not on Earth, Ray Lewis wants His teammates to play like Him even when He is not on the field. And now that I think about it, Ray Lewis is actually better than Jesus because although almost all the Ravens play like their leader, most of Christ’s followers don’t live a true Christian, Ray Lewis-like life. Plus, I bet Jesus never fired up His disciples with a funky, gyrating, pre-supper dance. Had He done so, I’m sure a lot more than 12 people would have signed up to be disciples.”

 

Wow, dude is making some pretty bold statements. Here is what pisses me off, on one hand I agree with his assessments, on the other hand; I think most folks forget how many Christians are living like Christ and making the world a better place. It’s just sad how only the negative stories make headline news.

Jay-Z

In Music by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

Jay-Z plays seven cities in a day on his so called “comeback album.” The kicker is this-he never left. His last album release was in 2004. This is ridiculous; marketing at it’s worse. I can see if was gone for like 4-5 years…But two years? Whatever!

What A Game

In Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

The Michigan/Ohio St game was great. Although, I did need Michigan to win for the sake of the Fighting Irish. I think ND chances of a National Championship game is for the most part  DONE!  So lame!

Book Review-Simply Christian

In Book Review, Books, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

Simply Christian, is simply a great book. NT Wright is brilliant. I love his passion and work. He does a tremendous job of retelling the Christian narrative. Restoring hope to those of us who continue to seek and search for the church to step into its God intended role.

I really enjoyed the fact that this book had no “hidden” agendas Per Se. The writing felt pure, genuine and graceful. Mr. Wright did such a beautiful job of giving fresh metaphors to ancient words, bringing his readers into the story and yet contextualizing his theories for the current post-modern culture. Although I would tend to caution those who are trying to compare this book to Mere Christianity. Please allow this book and scholarly work to stand on its own two feet.

I did enjoy, what I would call, the anti-fluff factor. Mr. Wright spoke of basic Christian aspects-such as prayer, spirituality and the Holy Spirit. But he did it in such a way as to allow both academic and non-academics to enjoy his writing and to be stretched by his thinking.

Also, please remember the target audience, Mr. Wright clearly tells us that he is writing for those inside and outside the Christian faith. And I think he achieved his objectives. Better yet, he can even target the mainline Christians and the Evangelicals; and that my friend is no easy task.

I would say that those, who’s theology seep deep into fundamentalism, may dis-like this book. Mr. Wright does not take much time to deal with issues such as judgement, sin, hell, etc. But I would recommend this book. It really provides hope and brings a greater understanding of the Christian worldview.

Enjoy the following quotes:

“God’s passion for Justice, must become ours, too. When Christians use their belief in Jesus as a way of escaping from that demand and challenge, they are abandoning a central element in their own faith. That way lies danger. PG. 13

“One of the central elements of the Christian story is the claim that the paradox of laughter and tears woven as it is deep into the heart if all human experience, is woven also deep into the heart of God.” PG. 38

“But “heaven” has this meaning, not because, in the earliest Christian traditions, it was the final destination of the redeemed, but because the word offers a way of talking about where God always is, so that the promise held out in the phrase “going to heaven” is more less exactly “going to be with God in the place where he’s been all along.” Thus “heaven” is not just a future reality, but a present one.” PG 59.

Around The Blog World

In Bloggers, Uncategorized by ChrisMarlow1 Comment

Dave Ferguson.: 10 Simple (But NOT Easy) Practices For Creating A Leadership Culture. I especially resonated with number 2: Give leaders a dream worth sacrificing and trading their lives.

Mark Batterson throws down some great wisdom in his blog post-Know Your Tendency I love the following quote:

Grace without truth is Christianity without a backbone.
Truth without grace is Christianity without a heart.

Steve Addison on-Leaders who don’t finish well.

Ben Arment: Top 10 Reasons Church Plants Fail. Planter, print this list and keep it with you-lot’s of wisdom and truth!

Desert Father On: Top 5 People Who Have Most Influenced My Theology

Mark Driscoll responds-Thank You, Critics.