We recently watched a video series put out by bluefishTV called “Free Market Jesus” by one of my favorite authors Donald Miller. If you haven’t heard of Donald Miller I really think you are missing out, he’s a great writer who looks at the world in an interesting way. His book “Blue Like Jazz” is still one of my favorite books, and I’ve heard that it’s being made into a movie, awesome!
The video is in two parts and is Donald Miller talking about how our ideals of free market economy have at points been incorporated into the language of the church. While our free market system is an amazing thing and allows our country to prosper beyond many’s wildest dreams it is not necessarily the way the church should work. When we look at the church more like a corporation and less like a community we lose a great deal of how our faith was meant to be lived.
Donald Miller compares faith and spirituality to less like a corporation and more like a tomato plant, which may seem abstract but let me attempt to explain. The free market dynamic in our churches tells us to be “profitable for the kingdom,” this is a business phrase that has been inserted into our “Christian-ese.” A great number of images of faith that Jesus talks about in the bible are agricultural, and point towards the slow and tedious process that faith often is. But we live in a instant and constant gratification world that rewards us instantly for what we do, a mindset that I am often guilty of. But how do we swim against the tide of culture?
Donald Miller speaks of the idea of spirituality being much more like watching the garden grow than the right now music download that is our culture. And we have to work to understand that culture is the lens that we see our faith. We see 3,000 commercial messages every day, how do we put commercialism out of our minds and focus more fully on God? I’m not telling you to get rid of your TV, or to convert your car to bio-diesel, although that is what is often seen as counter-cultural. I’m saying why don’t we make a real effort to love our neighbors as ourselves, even the ones we don’t like.
I think that faith does not look the same for every person, if it did we probably would not be a true expression. But I have a desire for not only myself, but anyone who wants to attempt this, to take time to reflect and pray on what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. How can we authentically and truly make an attempt to live this idea in our daily lives.