September 10th, 2002

Arch

The pleasure of suffering

The call of Christ is a call to live a life of sacrifice and loss and suffering that would be foolish to live, if there were no resurrection from the dead.

—John Piper, Desiring God


Piper's final full chapter challenges me. He speaks of suffering in the life of the Christian as both calling and blessing, how we have the privilege of showing the love of the cross to a world that needs to see this kind of love. How against my nature it is to grasp that it is pleasure to share in His sufferings, rather than simply duty.

Most thought provoking this morning are the accounts of martyrs in the growth of the early church. Christians risked their lives simply by being Christians, called to testify to their faith and often sentenced to public persecution/execution. "The blood of the martyrs is seed." Many came to believe simply through the testimony of their peace and courage in facing death, and countless more seeds were likely planted that later bore fruit.

How different this is than what the church has become! Our legacy became one of oppression in its own right, even on a global scale, proving the maxim that power corrupts. In today's church (at least in the West), comfort is king, pews are padded, worship is led by PowerPoint presentation. We can be bothered neither with the injustice perpetuated by others or by ourselves, and heaven forbid we are asked to repent of our history. Some leaders peddle the idea that prosperity is the key to revealing God's glory to the world, disregarding the blatant contradiction with the life, example, teaching, and very spirit of Christ. When did we stop suffering? Little wonder we've lost credibility with our culture.

(This morning's portrait in affluent moronica: a man dressed in a polo shirt and sport coat getting out of his silver BMW SUV to cross the street to Starbucks. Yuck.)

I paint with broad strokes of rebuke, including myself, yet praise God that He is still raising up faithful witnesses. Masochistic as it may sound, praise Him that there is still suffering for the gospel— not because of the evil intent of the enemy, but so that the world can see who Jesus is. To the Galatians, Paul wrote, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus" (Galatians 6:17); and to the Colossians, he said, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you and I complete in my flesh what was lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24). Not that Jesus left any work incomplete. He uses the suffering of believers to show Himself, to show the love of the cross.

So much more to say, to think, to learn, to digest.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
Arch

Social

My days off are often spent predominantly in solitude, but today was a welcome change. Took a detour on my usual morning Victrola trip for a more full breakfast at The Bagel Deli. After a bit of reading and writing, Bret (my former upstairs neighbor) stopped by my table and we talked for much of the morning. He's always been an easy guy to talk with: a genuine thinker, even though our views of the world differ wildly in some places. Got to see his new place on the fourth floor, and I may make a point to stop up on my days off sometimes.

Afternoon brought face time with musicismath, overcast, and sillypilgrim. Blessed that I've been able to meet so many wonderful friends from LiveJournal in person, and today certainly added to that blessing. After coffee and sandwich time at Victrola (it's a landmark, if a warm one today), we walked down 15th to Volunteer Park. One of the wonderful things about being with photographers is that they are caught by visual beauty I often overlook. Thoroughly enjoyed the time and the laughter (not to mention the photos of Ireland!).

Expect to spend some time checking out taci's new home and catching up later this evening. Good.
  • Current Mood
    energetic energetic
Arch

Leftovers

Thai food with taci before going to see her new home. Tried the special, and while it was good, I learned that one of my favorites really is one of my favorites (rather than just something I pick because I'm overwhelmed by the extensive menu of things I've never tried). Her place is great, with a partial glimpse of the skyline from the front door that makes me envious. Should look into getting a city view someday.

Perhaps the only unreported event of the day is the burnout of my refrigerator lightbulb. Went right out and bought a new one, though I'm not sure why, since I only have approximately seven things in my fridge at any given time. Silly on all levels.
  • Current Mood
    dorky dorky