Everything Must Change: Chapters 1 – 3

We’re working through Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change: When the World’s Biggest Problems and Jesus’ Good News Collide,with a special emphasis on some of the concerns expressed through the Occupy Wall Street movement.

McLaren writes,

I’ll suggest that our plethora of critical global crises can be traced to four deep dysfunctions, the fourth of which is the lynchpin or leverage point through which we can reverse the first three:

1. Environmental breakdown caused by our unsustainable global economy, an economy that fails to respect environmental limits even as it succeeds in producing great wealth for about one-third of the world’s population. We’ll call this the prosperity crisis.

2. The growing gap between the ultra-rich and the extremely poor, which prompts the poor majority to envy, resent, and even hate the rich minority–which in turn elicits fear and anger in the rich. We’ll call this the equity crisis.

3. The danger of cataclysmic war arising from the intensifying resentment and fear among various groups at opposite ends of the economic spectrum. We’ll call this the security crisis.

4. The failure of the world’s religions, especially its two largest religions, to provide a framing story capable of healing or reducing the three previous crises. We’ll call this the spirituality crisis.  (p. 5).

You can see the overlap between McLaren’s concerns and the concerns that drive the Occupy Wall Street movement.

McLaren then introduces a definition for a term he’ll frequently use —

By framing story, I mean a story that gives people direction, values, vision, and inspiration by providing a framework for their lives. It tells them who they are, where they come from, where they are, what’s going on, where things are going, and what they should do. (pp. 5-6).

We might just as well refer to a “metanarrative” — the story that defines a community. Each area of concern to McLaren presupposes a framing story that he argues is different from the Christian framing story — the true story of God’s redemptive work culminating in Jesus.

McLaren relates a talk given by a preacher in Rwanda —

Then [Rwandan native preacher] Claude got serious. “When I got older, I realized that my entire life had been lived against the backdrop of genocide and violence, poverty and corruption. Over a million people died in my country in a series of genocides starting in 1959, and nearly a million in Rwanda, and in spite of huge amounts of foreign aid, our people remain poor, and many of them, hungry. This is the experience we all have shared.” Around the room, people leaned forward, their heads nodding.

“So much death, so much hatred and distrust between tribes, so much poverty, suffering, corruption, and injustice, and nothing ever really changed. Eventually I realized something. I had never heard a sermon that addressed these realities. Did God only care about our souls going to heaven after we died? Were our hungry bellies unimportant to God? Was God unconcerned about our crying sons and frightened daughters, our mothers hiding under beds, our fathers crouching by windows, unable to sleep because of gunfire? Or did God send Jesus to teach us how to avoid genocide by learning to love each other, how to overcome tribalism and poverty by following his path, how to deal with injustice and corruption, how to make a better life here on earth-here in East Africa?”

Claude walked a few steps closer to the center of the group, seated around long tables arranged in a semicircle. “Let me ask you a question. How many of you from Burundi and Rwanda have ever heard even one sermon telling Tutsi people to love and reconcile with Hutu people, or Hutu people to love and reconcile with Tutsi-or telling both Tutsi and Hutu to love the Twa as their neighbors and brothers and sisters?”

Two hands went up. Both, it turns out, were Anglican priests–and they had preached those sermons themselves in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda. But nobody else had ever heard a sermon addressing the most pressing issue of their lifetimes, before or since the Rwandan genocide.

Claude continued, “Over the years, I have come to realize that something is wrong with the way we understand Jesus and the good news. Something is missing in the version of the Christian religion we received from the missionaries, which is the message we now preach ourselves. They told us how to go to heaven. But they left out an important detail. They didn’t tell us how the will of God could be done on earth. We need to learn what the message of Jesus says to our situation here in East Africa. And that is why we have come together.” (pp. 19-20).

Remember the racism that prevailed in our churches during the first half of the 20th Century? How many sermons condemned it? How many preachers in the South preached against slavery before the Civil War? How many sermons were preached condemning hatred of homosexuals before about 10 years ago? How many preached agains anti-Semitism before World War II?

Somehow, the church lacks the courage to preach against the biggest sins, the sins that are structural in our society, sins that are too big to challenge, sins that are so strongly loved that preachers who preach against them might lose their jobs.

We asked, “How did the colonizers feel during the colonial times? And how do they feel now, in postcolonial times?” The answers were predictable: during colonialism, they felt powerful, clean, knowledgeable, superior, capable, and civilized. But now, looking back on colonialism, they must be feeling ashamed, humbled, repentant, uncertain, conciliatory, regretful.

The next question: “How did the colonized feel during both eras?” Under colonialism, they said, they felt dirty, ashamed, grateful, dependent, incompetent, incapable, uneducated, unintelligent, resentful, abused, and afraid. But now, with colonialism decades behind them, and for many of them, nothing more than a fading memory of their parents and grandparents, they felt competent, capable, hopeful, confident, and empowered.

Then under the colonial column, we wrote, “The gospel of avoiding hell,” or something to that effect, and under the postcolonial column, we wrote, “The gospel of the kingdom of God.” The time had come, we said, to center our lives on the essential message of Jesus, the message of the kingdom of God–not just a message about Jesus that focused on the afterlife, but rather the core message of Jesus that focused on personal, social, and global transformation in this life. This message of Jesus could help us imagine what the world could be if Jesus was right in his proclamation of the kingdom of God.  (pp. 21-22).

And here’s a challenge — a challenge we’re also considering in the Resident Aliens series — how do we make the gospel about more than merely getting to heaven and being moral in a nice-guy sense? What does Jesus really call the church to be?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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75 Responses to Everything Must Change: Chapters 1 – 3

  1. Terry says:

    “What does Jesus really call the church to be?”

    Titus 2 (NLT) offers a good summary:

    ” 1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.
    3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

    6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.

    9 Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back 10 or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.

    11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

  2. Price says:

    I have little sensitivity to this issue…I don’t see the Occu-tards being all that interested in being different…they just want what they don’t have and want somebody to give it to them…

    We don’t have a prosperity crisis unless we have a consumption crisis..if they aren’t selling to buyers then nobody is making any money….

    The equality crisis is an envy crisis…nobody said that unequal risk and effort would provide equal results…get out of the park, take a bath and go to work..invest and spend your money wisely.. Paul said he was “self-sufficient” in every circumstance.

    Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of war forever…The Father of Pride will see to that… find ways to promote peace.

    There isn’t a spirituality crisis. Jesus is sufficient to meet the needs of everybody. That He doesn’t give them instant equality and equal value makes Him insufficient in the eyes of those that want somebody to GIVE them something… There is a dying crisis…some are no longer willing to die to self and to the Occutards there is nothing more important that self…

  3. Jesus calls his disciples to love one another, the way he loved us … the ekklesia should be encouraging us to do that.

  4. On the other hand, Price, those whom you call “Occutards” (which sounds more than vaguely insulting) have succeeded in pointing out that there is nothing more important than self for those who have wealth in insane disproportion and will not give nor stop accumulating – often illegally – at the literal expense of those who do not have.

    None of us is perfect, neither protestor nor billionaire, granted. The question is of degree: with how much has each been entrusted by their Lord to share and bring an eternal return on His investment in them?

    When Jesus there would be wars and rumors of wars – or that the poor we would have with us always – these were not commandments.

  5. Price says:

    Keith…these people (please excuse the intended insult) have not pointed out a thing except how dependent some have become on the efforts of others… If a billionaire creates wealth, why is he FORCED to give it to somebody living in a park who is capable of work but refuses to ? How many of those folks are bums who want attention ? How many have a college education ? They won’t do manual labor..it’s available…it’s beneath them…they want the big money…just not the effort… it’s a sham… it’s the light of entitlement shining brightly…. IMO… What solutions have they offered that make sense ?? Give me your money…that’s a solution…seriously ? They add nothing to reasonable dialogue whatsoever…

  6. abasnar says:

    If a billionaire creates wealth, why is he FORCED to give it to somebody living in a park who is capable of work but refuses to ?

    ???? – is this the only option, to give away your wealth to those who don’t WANT to work?

    But I do like Jay’s post. What would CHrist tell us today? And even this billionaire? It’s easy, becasue he already said what he would say today:

    Mar 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

    Not first that Christ did not hate the man as He told Him this, but he truly and deeply loved Him. And then the direction He shows is plain and “simple”. It seems to me, Price, that you would object to such teaching as you ask: “Why is he FORCE …?”

    And then you point to a situation where the same Bible provides equally clear teaching:

    2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

    This does not rule out letting go of your reaches at all, it just shows whom you should not give what exceeds your needs.

    So whoever these “occutards” you are talking about are – I didn’t get it – but if such a qeustins is being raised, they point us (on ourpose or not) to a very impotrant teaching of Christ, which is as neglected as the teaching of loving people of other tribes in Rwuanda. And tat’s indeed a “spirituality crisis”.

    On the other hand we all know the other extreme, the so called “social gospel” orthe “theology of liberation” who focus almost exclusively on the here and now ignoring the thereafter.


  7. Adam Legler says:

    If every American would fast for a day, we would solve world hunger.
    The countries with the biggest gap between the rich and the poor have the biggest health problem. Especially among the rich. The U.S. is number 2 on this list after Indonesia.
    Part of the Gospel is bringing Heaven to Earth since the afterlife will be on this Earth when Heaven comes down. It seems like if we did more of this, people would naturally see the beauty in accepting the Gospel message.

  8. Price, without presumably knowing any of the protestors, can we make sweeping generalizations about their motives and education and prejudices?

    I’ll be the first in line to say that there are good billionaires, generous at heart, willing to give and share and take risk to provide employment for those willing and qualified. I’m not a fan of all of Bill Gates’ products or Warren Buffet’s economic theories, but you cannot fault them for being stingy.

    What the protests have pointed out – if you’re willing to read their picket signs and Ross Perot-esque charts is the widening disparity between the ultra-rich and the rest, including the wealthier-than-middle class. That’s a lot of earthly treasure and, as Alexander points out, a lot of potential in relieving suffering and even providing employment for those willing and able to work. You see, you can do manual labor all day for a week, but if there’s no paycheck at the end of the week, all you’ve done is manual labor. You haven’t provided for yourself or family. Someone has to turn on the spigot of cash to stimulate growth. The ultra-rich who control the spigot are so far removed from the problem that they do not perceive the need to do something about it.

    That’s what the protests intended to do.

  9. laymond says:

    “What does Jesus really call the church to be?”

    To put it in a nutshell, the Church should be a leader, and protector of God’s people.

  10. laymond says:

    “I have little sensitivity to this issue…I don’t see the Occu-tards being all that interested in being different…they just want what they don’t have and want somebody to give it to them…”

    Price is that the way you think of the Hebrew people who wanted only to feed their people, and got weary of the Egyptians getting rich of the labor of their people, and decided enough is enough, and rebelled against their masters. Do you think they should have been satisfied with the food and shelter. Read the story of the Hebrew slaves, and how they got to be slaves, the same way the working class of today has become slaves to the rich. And I truly see the only way out for them is the same as the Hebrews, rebellion.

  11. laymond says:

    Price, do you recall all the things Moses took on his way out of Egypt ? Do you call that taking something not deserved, or do you see it as collecting what is owed to them. If your parent, or grandparent worked for a co. or corp. and paid into a retirement fund for forty years, and the co. went belly up, does that dismiss what you as a decendant is owed by that enity, no it does not. Do you think that the banks and rich people who have their money in them care if you loose your investments, no they don’t these people have to be held accountable, and if the government is not going to do that, than we have to.I fully support this movement, and if I were physically able would be there with them. they are trying to help the children of the future, just like Moses did way back when.

  12. Adam Legler says:

    So, why can’t we spend more time talking about the questions Jay asked? Why has the comments on this blog turned so negative towards each while quoting scripture at each other that we already know instead of constructively answering the questions? I hope we can get back to more material for kingdom building instead of kingdom criticism.
    I’ve had an urging to say this for a while. The world does enough of this back biting. Let’s not be like the world. Everyone has a right to their opinion and has an obligation to listen to those they don’t agree with respectfully, in my opinion. No preaching at each other necessary. I can go to church for that.

  13. Terry says:

    I’m not interested in criticism and backbiting either, Adam. I appreciate your concerns. I will refrain from further comments.

  14. Price says:

    Keith…there is a growing disparity between the rich and those that aren’t…so .. Is it the rich’s fault that people choose not to work or make bad life choices ? Is it there fault that things in life aren’t fair ? It is simply envy and greed that would disparage a man for using his talents and skills wisely… Why don’t they stop complaining and go to work? Why do they wish to destroy property ? Why don’t they stop using cell phones and cars if they don’t want to support rich people? It’s sad that they would receive any attention what soever… Why do they need ACORN’s involvement ?

    Laymond… seriously, are you comparing a free market enterprise system with forced labor..?? I have no rebuttal to that.. You’re hypotheticals don’t make any sense? Who is it that is being defrauded of money on a regular basis other than the US taxpayers ??

  15. Adam, I apologize. I have largely bowed out of participating in blog comments because I’ve grown weary of the kind of dialog that goes on in them, too.

    I responded to one that I felt was unfair. I should know better than to comment when I have a migraine as I tend to come across as provocatively stupid.

    Jay asked, “… how do we make the gospel about more than merely getting to heaven and being moral in a nice-guy sense?”

    We can learn to live as He did, generously, selflessly, without judging others. We can live that gospel so that when we speak it we do not destroy its credibility. We can be confessional when we fail and humble at all times. We can respect each other even when we disagree with each other’s opinions. But we owe it to each other to discuss our differences – even quoting scripture to to support them – because that’s how we widen and broaden our individual outlooks on the world and each other; how we learn more about each other. We need to do it to build relationships rather than prevent or destroy them, and where I have failed to do that I am deeply sorry.

  16. laymond says:

    Price, these folks are not protesting against the government, they are protesting against the thieving banks, and the system that allows banks to steal, through fraudulent actions. and it is not just the U.S. it is all the developed world. When the system is rigged to make more by keeping your money out of circulation, than by making and selling things, the system needs to be changed. Do you believe these people are stupid enough to borrow money to attend school, with the intention of setting on their butt, and drawing welfare. That is something that is nonsensical.

  17. Bob Brandon says:

    “Occutards,” eh? Not that much different than “libtards” as a term of abuse from the right wing. Says more about the utterer than the uttered.

    OWS participants are protesting against Wall St. cheating and thievery. They’re protesting against corporations who use their political power to shape government policies and laws to their own advantage and not that of the rest of the country. They’re protesting socializing profits and privatizing losses. In essence, they’re protesting the loss of opportunity, opportunity that has largely been shipped overseas, opportunity that once was their parents’ but is no longer theirs.

    Or as Joe Stiglitz put it:
    “On one level, today’s protesters are asking for little: a chance to use their skills, the right to decent work at decent pay, a fairer economy and society. Their hope is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But, on another level, they are asking for a great deal: a democracy where people, not dollars, matter, and a market economy that delivers on what it is supposed to do.”

  18. Zach Cox says:

    OWS needs to be Occupy Washington and the Fed. Go to the source not the symptom.

  19. Adam Legler says:

    My comments are not aimed at anyone specifically, just in general. I just enjoy it when this is a type of place I can go to on my lunch break to be refreshed by what a Christian community is suppose to be, which is has been for me on many occasions.

  20. Alabama John says:

    WE are constantly fed a line.

    Announced that unemployment figures went down last month.

    4 days later announced how many have fallen off the unemployment roles due to their time allowed to receive that benefit had expired.

    The very rolls that they use to show unemployment figures.

    Construction of needed infrastructure will be the answer. Construction increasing has always been the means of overcoming a recession or depression.
    How many I know that would like to be working today that are sitting at home.

    As an old Federal Contractor I see how much needs to be done. I know personally so many that would rejoice at going back to work. Lets do it and make money and pay taxes, fees, buy from our stores again, etc. all necessary to bring our Country back.

    Want to know someone that will listen to you tell him or her about Jesus?

    Put him or her to work and sit with them eating lunch and see.

  21. Price says:

    Laymond, I see them interfering with honest hard working people who are trying to make a living..They say they are defacating in the park, smoking dope, causing all kinds of disturbances and violence and you support that ??

    Corporations are shipping their jobs overseas because it’s cheaper…I don’t hear any complaints when foreign companies come to the USA…it sure helps those people who need jobs in other countries…lighten the tax burden, which is the HIGHEST in the world and maybe the corporations would do more at home…Can’t have it both ways…We are FREE to decide how to run our businesses…If you don’t want to buy from me then go somewhere else..invest your own money… but do something so that I don’t have to pay for you to defecate in the park… go live with your parents…. get a job, any job…quit being a dependent…go build a company and hire other people…I don’t owe you a college education… My parents worked to go to college..it was a privilege not a right… and if you want to spend it on learning how to do things that nobody wants to hire you to do then that’s your choice but I don’t owe you a job either… In fact, I am not forced to do anything for you…If I choose to help you I will out of the goodness of my heart I will…but I really like to help people who first have a desire to help themselves… Even Paul said that the young women shouldn’t be put on the list of people to help…Paul got a job… If you don’t work you don’t eat… Those seem to be the Christian principles… Free loading is never complimented in the Old or New Testament as far as I can tell…

    I just can’t imagine how a conservative Christian could support such radical offensive behavior… but to each his own..

  22. laymond says:

    “If I choose to help you I will out of the goodness of my heart”

    Price, after reading what you think and feel, I am certainly glad I don’t have to depend on that. (the goodness of your heart)

  23. Charles McLean says:

    Alexander’s recitation of Jesus’ counsel to the rich young ruler is apropos, as long as we don’t forget to define “rich” in an appropriate manner. If we considered “the rich” to be, say, the top 10% of wage earners and asset holders in the world, then that counsel would apply to just about the entire American and European middle class.

    I think we tend to define “rich” as “having a lot more money than me”. I’m not sure that is at all useful.

  24. I also think we need to remember that Jesus told one person — that rich young ruler — to sell ALL his possessions; to everyone else, He just said “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:33a)

  25. laymond says:

    Keith, do you see a difference there? Do you see a loophole ? 🙂

  26. laymond says:

    Price, can you assure me that God is not working through these people to right a wrong, just like he did with Moses?
    There were some pretty bad things going on during the exodus, even worse than pooping in the park.

  27. Price says:

    Laymond… God could certainly be using these people for something if nothing but to help policemen make overtime money. I know in Atlanta the mayor said it had cost the city half a million dollars…. Joseph clearly stated that what happen to him was meant for evil but God turned it in to something good… God can do great and wondrous things…however, it doesn’t mean that what He is using is good… Are you certain to the point that you can divinely assure us all that these protesters are doing the work of God.?? Of course not…

  28. Price says:

    Keith, Paul told Timothy in I Tim 6 to tell the folks that had money to be “rich in good works”…. and to not trust in their money but in God who provides…. that by doing so they would understand what life was truly all about… I’m not rich by any means unless compared to third world countries but I find it a challenge at times not to put more emphasis on taking care of my family’s financial needs that I should… and at times I admit to giving less than I should…hoping to make up for it “next time.” He usually reminds me of what is most important..

    I think it’s interesting that Paul tells the lazy to work and he tells those that are successful to share with those in need… He never tells anybody to care for those that are capable of caring for themselves…

  29. laymond says:

    Price, does your TV have another channel besides FOX it seems you don’t understand that jobs are exactly what these people are asking for, a chance to work, why don’t you make a list of all the good jobs that are going unfilled and find people to fill them, killing two birds with one stone.

  30. Johnny says:

    It would appear that our obligations toward others needs can be ranked as follows
    1. To our own household
    2. To the needy in the Church
    3. To the needy in the community.

    To be able to do that we must live frugally, stay out of debt, and not separate ourselves from the community around us. Since we refusing to pay out debts would be a horrible witness, we must avoid debt whenever possible to allow us the freedom to meet those needs listed above.

    Am I close to correct here?

  31. Alabama John says:

    Let me give a different take on the rich young ruler.

    He was not told to drop everything and follow Jesus like the apostles were. Remember when Jesus saw him, He loved him as he had been good and obedient ALL his life. If only we would be seen in such a light!

    He came wanting to follow Jesus but, he was told to go back and sell everything. He left disappointed as he had much to sell and that would take a while.

    Later, in Mark 14:51 we see him again, coming almost naked except for a rich mans linen cloth around him. He was true to his whole lifes obedience and did what Jesus told him to do as he always had. Some think that was Mark writing about himself, but why would he come almost naked, then throw away his cloth and run away naked ?

    This man is to be admired for his obedience, not slammed as we always do.

  32. Price says:

    Laymond…if they want a job, they should go home, take a bath, clean up and go apply for work or….retrain themselves in skills that are in demand… people are getting jobs all the time… 10% unemployment means 90% are employed…

    Paul commanded…not suggested…commanded those who wanted to eat…to work… quit making excuses for people… or go hire one of them to work for you…

  33. Price says:

    Jay….Alabama John suggests that the Rich Young Ruler might have been Mark…I’ve heard that before …What do you know about this ?? Interesting concept.

  34. Adam Legler says:

    My wife researched the Occupy movement last night. I have been critical of it. But she found testimonies of people just like my family. Middle class single income providers who are barely making because of rising gas and food prices and healthcare costs while the rich get richer. These people are mixed in when the hippies that the media gets on camera. How come the lowest tax rate for the rich in 50 years as only resulted in jobs being lost, not the job creation that was promised?

    I like Johnny’s comment. We can’t worry about all of this stuff but we can help out those in need.

    Question: was Paul’s comments about the lazy just for believers or for everyone and does that change anything?

  35. Zach Cox says:


    To answer your question about the lowest tax rates and lost jobs: consider that the problem is not low taxes (which they are not) but spending, debt, fiat money printing, endless war, low interest rates and artificially created business cycles.

  36. Charles McLean says:

    I think Keith makes a valid point– and laymond, loopholes are only found in laws. The operative thought here is “Jesus told him”. What has Jesus told ME? Herein lies our problem in trying to be guided only by general principles instead of by the Holy Spirit. We can find general principles, in this case, to fit almost ANY current fiscal condition. If you have clothes and food, be content. So, don’t try to gather up anything else for yourself.. Sell all your possessions and give the money away. Be a good steward of riches if you have them. Money is to be saved; money is to be distributed. Money is for the poor now; money is for your heirs, later. If you want to know in terms of principle which of these biblical constructs to follow with all your heart, the answer is “Yes”.

    SO, you still don’t know what to do. This leaves you with two choices. Pick a priniciple you think you should follow and follow it, and use the supporting proof-text to defend your concomitant choices. OR, be led by the Holy Spirit.

  37. Brian B. says:


    I want to ask you to set aside the politics for a minute and run back through the conversation and look at your comments. From your very first post in which you referred to the protesters as “occutards”, your attitude toward the protesters is poor. Although you dropped the term “occutards” your posts are all flavored with an obvious anger and disdain for the protesters. At various points in this thread, you have attacked the intelligence, integrity, character, hygiene and other qualities of the protesters. Setting aside your political/economic beliefs, do you think your obvious disgust for the protesters is an adequate imitation of God’s love (Eph. 5:1-2)?

  38. laymond says:

    “I think Keith makes a valid point– and laymond, loopholes are only found in laws.”

    Charles, you don’t have to be insulted on Keith’s behalf, Keith knows me much,much better than you do. and I bet he took it the way it was intended.

  39. No loophole. Jesus was speaking to one rich young man who had to divest ALL in order to physically, at that time, follow the Son of Man. Just as I do not believe we are instructed to enter Jerusalem and borrow a donkey’s colt, I don’t believe this instruction is for all.

    However …

    If the pull of accumulation and ownership exalts self above others and God, then for that person it might be a very good idea to sell out and give completely.

    The rest of us are taught to sell our possessions (it doesn’t say “all” in Luke 12:33) and give in order to learn the joy of divestiture (kenosis). As we have less stuff to care about, we have more sense of who Jesus was and is (Philippians 2:6-8) — selfless to the very heart of His being.

  40. Alabama John says:

    My son just started a construction project.

    I have been amazed at what the talented construction men and women that are out of work due to no starts have been doing to bring home some pay.

    Employed certainly doesn’t mean the same as doing what you did in the past or making what you did either.
    Maybe there should be a classification for 1/8th, 1/4th, 1/2 employed added to the unemployment figures.

    That would sure bring them up to reality of 30-40% instead of just those figures considering those on the unemployment rolls. Doesn’t count those fallen off or not asking for it.

    Seeing what is happening, we all should of been bankers or wall streeters. Just think what we could do to help folks with the bonuses the bankers and folks on wall street are getting.

    Those in need cannot receive anything unless there is someone that can and is willing to give it.

  41. laymond says:

    oligarchy : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes;

    Like it or not, an oligarchy rules this nation. and it starts with the supreme court.

  42. laymond says:

    John said, “Those in need cannot receive anything unless there is someone that can and is willing to give it.”

    Or someone willing to take it.

  43. laymond says:

    I always heard Robinhood was a good guy.

  44. Price says:

    Brian…perhaps I should be more kind…I take that constructive criticism seriously…However, please look at what Paul wrote about the people of his day…Christians in need…He said get off your butts and get busy doing something, anything, to support yourself because we aren’t going to do it for you… He did not call them occutards however…
    but all i hear is that they are defying the order of law, creating hazard and now violence, interfering with those persons and businesses that are trying to do the best they can to provide for their families and their employees…all the while complaining that someone isn’t GIVING them something…it becomes difficult to be sympathetic with that approach to change… We all know that times are tough…but unemployment benefits last for nearly two years…If these people had had jobs, then they would have had 2 years to find something else…they have their family to help them…(same thing Paul said)…it isn’t the responsibility of others to give them anything..it may be kind and generous of them but the aren’t forced to… God doesn’t even force us to give but to set aside as we can and from a right mindset… my excuse for my bad attitude towards these people in general is from knowing friends and family that have had to do something different or new in order to sustain their family financially…In some cases they had to move or at least the husband did in order to find work…These people were determined…they didn’t go hang out in a park for 2 months….but that is probably not the best attitude I admit…

    If they want to make a difference then they should vote for people who will run the government, nationally and locally, that won’t get us downgraded by the credit agencies because we keep spending more than we bring in… But, I digress..

  45. laymond says:

    “…all the while complaining that someone isn’t GIVING them something”

    Price this seems to be your angry cry, show me where this has actually happened. show a sign or statement made by the protesters that back your claim.

  46. Laymond,
    Early on, the NYTimes and numerous other papers reported the Occupy Wall Street group wanted all debt to be forgiven. They requested their student loans be forgiven. They requested free food. In several cities, they’ve requested permits without fees, which every other group has to pay.

  47. Adam Legler says:

    I agree there are several reasons as to why there haven’t been jobs created. But the promises as to what low taxes for the rich would mean to the economy (along with bailing out the banks) have not come to pass.

  48. Alabama John says:

    I read that forgiving everyones debt, home and all would be cheaper than what we giving are the banks and wall street folks.

    Just think what that would do for our economy with folks going on a spending spree.

    I’m just glad a country reaped an abundance of grain, stored it and had plenty to let Josephs family have some.

  49. Doug says:

    After reading the comments on this Post, it seems to me that this little blog is a perfect mirror of our modern society. We separate along a line and hurl zingers at each other… so does the US Congress, the Dem’s and Repub’s, the President’s Party and the opposition Party… etc. etc. No real solutions or compromises… just a battle line.

    Well, I think Christians are meant to bridge the battle line. We are to be the peace makers. We don’t become either of these by buying into just one political parties or one advocate groups agenda. I have a real problem with advocate groups because they only want to advocate for their constituents. Although I am a member of a few advocate groups, I just can’t accept that theirs is the only important agenda.

    Now, I can understand how a rich person who’s paying 40% of their income in taxes might object to a person who is not paying any income taxes and STILL receiving a tax refund telling that rich person that they aren’t paying their fair share. I can also understand the dejection that a person who has learned a trade or taken schooling to prepare for a profession must have when they just can’t find a paying job. The truth is, our politicians play to both sides for the advantage and that doesn’t solve anything.

    Maybe we could start by deciding just what it is that we want Government to do and if we are willing to pay the cost for that level of service. Then we might decide what is a “Fair” tax on the rich and on those not so rich. I think those two things are probably more than either political party want to address. If the Occupy people want to work or those two, I’d probably join them.

  50. Adam says:

    Or, Doug, maybe we, as builders of the Kingdom, could begin constructing a new community where the blessed are the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the outcast, the stranger, and yes – even the enemy.

    Until we get beyond the unbliblical idea of efficacy and towards a much, much more Biblical idea of faithfulness and invitation, we are doomed to repeat the same cycles of violence and retribution shown in the world throughout history.

    We win not by solving the problems, but by showing Christ. To judge effectiveness by any other metric is, I would suggest, misguided at best, sinful at worst.

  51. Doug says:


    I wouldn’t disagree with you. After suffering church burn-out about 20 years ago. I decided instead of doing the current hip church thing, I would concentrate on doing what I found in scripture. So I went to prison and jails in Christ’s name and began supporting children’s homes. I’m still doing that and it’s been the best 20 yrs of my 58 yrs as a Christian.

  52. Kirk says:

    Has anyone else considered the idea that God may be moving America to divine judgment? Immorality is running rampant, self-indulging and getting more (greed) has become the definition of the American dream, we run up massive amounts of debt to obtain this dream, we kill our unborn babies, we remove God from anything appearing to be public or government property, we worship idols (it’s not always about the golden calf, you know) and on it goes. And on top of all of that, many who profess to be God’s children (very much including myself here) have participated in many of these things, often at the expense of doing the Lord’s work.

    Perhaps we have or are reaching the limits of God’s patience. Every civilization in the scriptures eventually met the judgment of God for their lack of concern for Him, even His own people (Israel/Judah). We can’t assume that America is any different. And that’s what scares me!

  53. Kirk, I think your conclusion if flawed. Just on the surface, none of civilizations mentioned in the NT are described as having met “the judgement of God for their lack of concern for him.”

    And, to the contrary, the NT Text seems to be preoccupied with the faithfulness of individuals who are saved by grace, regardless of the behavior of their governments.

    Jesus showed little concern for the bad behavior of the Roman Empire. He encouraged slaves to work hard for their masters. He encouraged people to pay their taxes. His counsel to us was to do right, regardless of the evil around us.

  54. Kirk says:

    David, I wasn’t quoting scripture so you won’t see that exact verbiage in the Word, but nonetheless, the text is there to support the idea that God’s hand of judgement has been at work either upon entire kingdoms/cities or individual kings. Just a few examples that come to mind:

    Sodom and Gomorrah

    Nineveh was spared judgement because they repented

    Egypt (may not have seen a downfall, but were harshly judged nonetheless)

    The Canaanite kingdoms/cities (Gen. 15:13-16)

    Israel (II Kings 17, 18:9-12)

    Judah (II Chron. 36:20-21, Jer. 25:8-9)

    The entire book of Judges is about God’s judgment upon nations/peoples, namely Israel.

    And I believe that the Roman empire was eventually judged. Jesus may have not shown much concern for it, but the book of Revelation does (in my opinion at least – I understand that there will be disagreements on the meaning of this book).

    Also, consider these passages: Daniel 2:21, 4:17, Acts 17:26)

    I’m not suggesting that God is most definitely doing something. There’s no way at all that I could know the mind of our Father to make such a proclamation. But, given the biblical evidence of God’s involvement in nations, I also can’t deny the possibility that His hand may be at work. And, as we saw with Nineveh, a repentant nation can put a halt to impending judgment.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  55. Kirk,
    I certainly do not dispute or even disagree with your OT references. But the case that God continues to judge civilizations in that way, following Jesus’ time on earth, is very weak, in my view.

    Jesus’ teaching is not about righteous nations, it is about righteous individuals. In fact, that is one of most significant changes in perspective between the OT and NT scriptures.

  56. Kirk says:

    Agreed David, that the NT doesn’t discuss this. I would suggest, though, that to be fair to the text, we have to take into account that the OT covers significantly more time than the NT, and serves a very different purpose.

  57. Kirk,
    That’s why I think your original conclusion is flawed. The OT was intended to lead us to Jesus … and Jesus changed everything.

    No longer is the law the basis for judgement by God, because we’re all already condemned. And if we’re already condemned, why does God need to bring additional judgement — rather, Jesus brought us a path to escape judgement — the grace of God thru faith in Jesus.

    No longer must we live in fear of condemnation, but rather we can live joyously by faith.

    And that’s why I do not fear “America is moving towards divine judgement.” What additional judgement will God have in addition to the judgement he’s already given: We are only worthy of condemnation, “but thanks be to God who delivers me thru Christ Jesus” Romans 7

  58. Kirk says:

    David, I think the problem we’re having is confusion on what I mean by the judgement I am speaking of in this context. I’m not referring to the spiritual eternal judgement that Jesus covered on the cross. I’m speaking of earthly judgment. That is, physical punishment of sorts. God has the power to disband nations, to remove leaders from power, to cause people to suffer various earthly hardships, (economic, sickness, famine, etc) to give nations into the conquering hands of another nation, etc. That’s what I’m referring to and He has done that quite often throughout history as we can see from the bible.

    So, back to my original post, if America is headed into dire times financially, health wise, and such then perhaps it’s God exercising judgment upon a nation who once looked to Him for guidance, but have since turned on Him. Does that clear things up, or are we still in disagreement?

  59. Bob Brandon says:

    Price stated: “Are you certain to the point that you can divinely assure us all that these protesters are doing the work of God.?? Of course not…”

    Interesting misapprehension of divine authority; the converse is also true: can Price be certain to the point that he can divinely assure us that they are not.

    Better to leave out God out of the endorsement business. After all, only 12.3% of protestors describe themselves as unemployed. See http://www.fastcompany.com/1792056/occupy-wall-street-demographics-infographic.

  60. Price says:

    Bob…don’t consider myself divine… don’t have to be to know that Paul wouldn’t let them eat… on the news tonight they were endangering children and tearing up some restaurant… great way to interview for a job…

  61. Kirk,
    While it clarifies your intended point, I remain unconvinced God acts in such ways today.

  62. Jay Guin says:

    Adam L wrote,

    Why has the comments on this blog turned so negative towards each while quoting scripture at each other that we already know instead of constructively answering the questions? I hope we can get back to more material for kingdom building instead of kingdom criticism.


  63. Jay Guin says:

    Price asked,

    Alabama John suggests that the Rich Young Ruler might have been Mark…I’ve heard that before …What do you know about this ??

    Here’s a blog (not by me) that discusses the possibility: http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2009/10/29/was-mark-the-rich-young-ruler/

    Check it out and let me know if you’re convinced.

  64. Kirk says:

    I apologize that I didn’t offer an answer to Jay’s question. For me personally, it requires me to make some serious changes in my own life. To put away the materialism and strive to live off less than what I do. I like Francis Chan’s approach of living off a much lower amount of money than what you actually earn, and using the rest to carry out the work of Jesus. My wife and I have finally decided to get serious about this, but boy do we have a long long long road ahead of us to get there! Like most other Americans, we have years of payments to make on things we’ve promised to pay.

  65. Jay Guin says:

    Kirk wrote,

    Every civilization in the scriptures eventually met the judgment of God for their lack of concern for Him, even His own people (Israel/Judah). We can’t assume that America is any different. And that’s what scares me!

    Not so much to disagree but to present an alternative way of looking at the evidence, the nation we Christians are a part of is the Kingdom of God. Period. We aren’t called to make the USA or Argentina or Uganda faithful to God. Rather, the Kingdom is to be more and more faithful to God — and to expand its borders.

    Our concern is not whether God is pleased with the USA, but whether God is pleased with our part of his Kingdom. Have we been good shepherds of his sheep? Have we been faithful stewards? Those are the questions the parables point us toward.

    Would being a faithful servant help the USA survive another century? Well, in one sense, that’s not our problem. Rather, the consequences of being faithful are God’s. We just do our part in his kingdom.

    If you were a missionary to Afghanistan, would you be concerned about whether God judges Afghanistan and might overthrow the government? I doubt it — other than to be concerned for the people there you serve and love. Governments come. Governments go. The Kingdom is forever.

    However, that said, I think that the better we are at honoring our obligations to God as citizens of the Kingdom, the better things will be for the countries where Christians live. Christianity makes for great citizens — but that’s not the goal. It’s a result but not how we test our obedience to God.

  66. Bob Brandon says:

    Price: “…on the news tonight they were endangering children and tearing up some restaurant…”

    Got specifics?

  67. Price says:

    Bob…… Here are some specifics on the Occupy effort you requested… From the Washington Times pretty sad.


  68. Price says:

    Jay…thanks for the link about Mark… Interesting…obviously very speculative…but it does seem that throughout the Gospels the “boys” are at times prone to disguise themselves and/or their involvement yet with a clue to their identity…

    Sure makes the story more redemptive and uplifting… Especially to those of us who didn’t just “drop everything” when we were first called…but later came to our senses..

  69. laymond says:

    Washington Times, really Price, Washington Times ?
    I would bet you could see it on “fox news” too.

  70. Price says:

    Laymond…anybody that knows how to google something can look for themselves…It’s all pretty consistent…

    but if I were you… I’d write them a big fat check so you can put your money where you mouth is… and maybe even go play with them in the park…Take a sign that says, “Look Jay, it’s Laymond.” We’ll look for you on TV…

  71. Bob Brandon says:

    Laymond, I noticed that, too. Not a news article, but a columnist. From the Washington Times to boot. Not credible.

  72. laymond says:

    Bob, people are really getting mad with these people who say “elect me then shutup, I’m the boss now” look at what happened in Ohio, and Mississippi yesterday, people are finding their voice, and it is way past time.America should be a better place, and it will when the people began running it again. money is not speech, money is payola. pay for services, it seems someone on here thinks more of money than people.
    Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

  73. laymond says:

    Price, There were four or five , hooded thugs in the picture Mr. Rich copied from the AP , since when does five hoods define a movement of millions? Price there are more deadly sins in your church each sunday than you showed here.

  74. laymond says:

    Price, what name would you apply to the protesters at Penn State?

  75. Price says:

    Laymond…Nittany Nerds sounds about right to me…

    While Joe Paterno certainly has much less culpability than the administration to whom the violation was reported, he nonetheless was appropriately fired for his failure to do more… There is no institution or person that should escape responsibility for child cruelty, especially when it involves sexual abuse.

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