Kenneth Justice, The Culture Monk, says he writes “about Christianity from a perspective of social equality, compared to the perspective of harsh moral authority he has encountered.” I am not certain what that means, but I think the focus of his blog is relationships. Justice considers love relationships, relationships between enemies, the relationship between the poor and society, relationships between people and their churches, and so forth. And his discussions are deep and meaningful.
What I hope to do here is to move a small portion of what Justice has written slightly closer to the mark. Please note this effort is intended as a compliment, not criticism.
Let’s consider some of Justice’s recent posts.
- A Pastor who scares people…REALLY???: Here Justice discusses a Baptist preacher. Justice’s description matches fire and brimstone stereotype of legend. Can you imagine such a preacher with an Atheist son?
Although his dad didn’t ex-communicate the son for switching to atheism; his family and ex-church has made it pretty clear to him that he is headed for an eternity of hellfire and damnation because he has rejected god.
- The church says, ‘NO’…REALLY???: Somehow Justice managed to gain the confidence of a 29 year old woman, and she shared with him her wish to marry a 56 year old man she has known most of her life. The problem? Her church would strongly disapprove.
- The other man…REALLY???: The post involves Justice’s reaction to the “other man” in a triangle. Whereas he believes he once would have chastised the “other man” for being in such a relationship, this time he demonstrated grace rather than condemnation.
- Homeless in -20 degree weather…REALLY???: Can you imagine being homeless in this weather just because you don’t want to work? Justice has a problem with that too.
- Betrayed but forgiven…REALLY???: In this post, Justice describes what I think must have been one of his most interesting encounters. He describes one man asking another for forgiveness. He describes the second man overcoming deeply seated rage and extending forgiveness.
- Never lose hope…REALLY???: Here in this last sample Justice describes an acquaintance who he says is like a lot of other people in the Western World…..he’s lost all hope that life can get any better.
When I was in the Air Force, we had an expression for being in a difficult fix with no way out: behind the power curve. When an air plane is flying too slow, it can easily stall and then start to fall out of the sky. Then if it too close to the ground, it will crash before it picks up enough speed to regain the lift it needs. That’s the end of the aircraft. For the passengers and the crew, however, it is just the beginning of eternity.
In the last post in the list above, Justice mentioned the reason for his hope, God. He spoke of venting to God and sharing his burdens, but there is more to it than that. When we lose hope in this life, is it not because we have lost sight of the next? Have we not lost sight of the fact we can choose to spend eternity with a Holy God?
Only the first post did Justice mention the prospect of eternity. He did so with a reference to a Hell-obsessed Baptist preacher. But what is Hell? Isn’t Hell just the opposite of Heaven? And what is Heaven? Isn’t Heaven the opportunity to know the full glory and majesty of our Creator? Can you imagine what that must be? No, I can’t either. I just know it must be Hell to have had that opportunity and refused it.
Because we are so enthralled by this world, we find it difficult to imagine or think of the next. Yet Christianity says this life is just preparation for eternity. Thus:
- When a preacher speaks of Hell, we must remind him of its opposite, that God is in Heaven. That our preacher’s job is to point the way to Heaven, not Hell.
- When we love someone, particularly our spouse, we begin to understand what it means to love our Creator — for eternity. Because God wants the best for us, He made so we will not be happy when we settle for second best.
- When we refuse to work, we refuse to serve others. If we cannot serve another human being, how will ever be worthy of serving our Lord in Heaven?
- When we forgive another in this life, we do what little we can to show our Lord in Heaven that we are worthy of being forgiven, that we are worthy of forgiveness for all the sins we have committed and all the sins we will commit through all eternity.
- When we hope, we demonstrate our faith in Christ Jesus, our faith He has prepared a home for us in Heaven.
Please check out The Culture Monk. It is a good read.
Note that Justice has big plans for the coming year. He is going on a national and worldwide tour of over 100 coffee houses (see this link for dates and locations).
I wonder if The Culture Monk knows how many coffee shops there are in Heaven. 😉