Christian Theological/Philosophical Book Club discussion


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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments The concept of seasons strikes me as an important aspect of the world that is being overlooked by this generation. Not long ago seasons dictated people’s schedules, diets, the nature of their work, how they spent their free time. Generally speaking, time of year determined a lot about the specifics of people’s lives. When it was Spring, the farmers planted seeds. When it was Fall, they harvested crops. In Winter people chopped and burned firewood. In Summer they swam in rivers and lakes. The concept of seasons might also apply on a spiritual level, concerning times when people should mourn and pray, versus times when people should rejoice and celebrate.

Imagine an old man drawing water from a well in front of his farmhouse. A rider approaches up the dusty road toward his farm, dismounts, and hands the old man a letter. He opens it and reads that his eldest son has just been wounded and has lost his leg in the war. That evening the man goes down into his cellar to get some more firewood, and on his way to the log pile he spots a bottle of whiskey and an old phonograph, so he carries them upstairs. Feeling sad about his son’s misfortune, he decides he wants to forget all that negative stuff and have some fun, so he uncaps the bottle and plays his liveliest record on the phonograph, twirling around like a bird of paradise resolved to dance his troubles away. The next day he wakes up and remembers his son’s leg, and in despair recalls how the night before, his sadness had vanished once he’d started drinking and dancing, so he resolves to do the same thing that night.

It seems like for the most part our society reacts to tragedy similarly, focusing on happiness and fun when we should be mourning, praying, and searching for a better way, and then when peaceful times do arrive our souls are besieged by depression, anxiety, and guilt. Partying in the middle of a tragic season is like planting a bunch of seeds during the harvest. Nothing takes root and the farm loses its supply. For a more explicit metaphor, a family shouldn’t gather around the table for a game of Monopoly when there is a rabid panther crouching in the corner. They should tranquilize and bind the panther, call animal rescue, and commence the game of Monopoly in the safer more peaceful environment.

Patience might explain the mass confusion taking place today. Dependance on seasons left previous generations no choice but to wait patiently for their crops to grow, their annual income to be paid, and besides that everything took longer back then. People actually sat and prayed and thought about God back in the day, they read the Bible together instead of glancing at the daily quote on their Bible app and motoring off to their next coffee meeting or tv session. Call me insane but I think when a nation suffers as much bad news as America has suffered in the last two weeks, its people should turn their tv’s off, silence their cell phones, and start quietly listening for what almighty God is trying to say to us.

Of all the countries in history America shines as the most blessed, the most lavishly graced with mercy, resources, and power. On occasion we’ve proved worthy of God’s blessings, serving other nations by facilitating peace, and compassionately tending to our own citizens and others who needed help and support. At certain times God has blessed the U.S. with revival, prosperity, and peace exactly like He blessed Israel after its people laid aside their idols and got serious about serving Him again. Immediately, God welcomed them back with open arms, promising to dry their weeping eyes and make them a glorious nation, a place where joy and celebration would make sense. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

message 2: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Good to think about.

message 3: by Xdyj (new)

Xdyj There are so many tragic things happening all the time, if we mourn for every one of them do we still have any time for joy?

message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments Good point. Sometimes I guess we should just shake off the negative and get on with our lives. The Bible never tells us to mope around and dwell on the brokenness of the world, but Christ does say we should practice compassion, faith, and sound thinking. Times like these call for increased prayer and humility.

message 5: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle I think a healthy Christian can do both: Joy AND mourn at the same time.

message 6: by R.J. (last edited Jul 13, 2016 06:34PM) (new)

R.J. Gilbert (rjagilbert) | 93 comments I think one of the things to remember is that seasons are regional. When it is Summer here, it is Winter on the other side of the world. Man was not meant to mourn for troubles of the entire planet. We have things going on in our own back-yard that it is appropriate to mourn, but when we hear about terrible things happening in other parts of the world, it would be unhealthy to mourn in the same capacity.

Yes, there is injustice out there, and yes, often it will not be stopped without outsiders like us stepping in and trying to make changes. It is good to send aid and to pray, and it is better to get involved IF we are in a position to do so. But to allow ourselves to knee-jerk react to every news story is a very unhealthy way to live our lives. Keep in mind that Dallas did not have a problem until the press decided to bring Louisiana's problems across the border. That is not a very healthy way to handle bad news.

message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments I must be a healthy Christian by Rod's definition: I can mourn for the deceased while absolutely getting stuffed on the tasty morsels offered up at the survivor's abode!

message 8: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Who's better off: the dead or the Alive? Depends on the location of the BBQ.

message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments We have to be compassionate or we aren't true Christians. I'm saying sometimes it's good to be sad and ache with people when bad stuff happens. Sharing in grief, weeping with those who weep, and also rejoicing with those who rejoice.

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Robert - liberals are just dripping with compassion - that's not much of a standard for Christians.

message 11: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (nancfox) | 1 comments This brings to mind Matthew 26:11. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. (NLT)

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