“Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.” Thomas Merton
“The danger in the rampant commercialization of abundant life is not so much in the particular value (or lack thereof) of a specific product being marketed, but in the insidious ways in which advertising campaigns steal a person’s ability to discern what is necessary for a fruitful life and what is extraneous. Advertisers kill an individual’s sense of self-worth and uniqueness in the eyes of God by promoting excessive regard for the approval of others and competition for the most stuff, rather than promoting good living as collaboration with each other. …Christians need to embrace spiritual practices that will enable them to identify and resist commercial messages that undermine their primary identity as children of God and disciples of Christ. …One critical spiritual practice for discernment is attentiveness. First, Christians need to pay attention to the number of commercial messages to which they are exposed daily and the common themes embedded in those advertisements. With researchers estimating that individuals view or hear as many as five thousand messages each day, paying attention could quickly become a full-time job! What matters here is not a comprehensive attentiveness but an increasing awareness of the pervasive and corrosive nature of commercial influences. Second, Christians need to pay attention to God’s voice as a counterpoint to the negative aspects of advertising. Such attentiveness can occur when individuals, families, and congregations deliberately separate themselves from the noisiness of everyday life and spend time in the set apart ‘pastures’ [John 10:9] of personal and communal prayer, contemplation, and worship.” Karen-Marie Yust
“life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.”
Jesus in Luke 12:15
Moving From Head to Heart
- Do you see good living as “collaboration” with others rather than competition with others? What does your answer say about you?
- Do you have practices that allow you to hear God’s voice over the “noisiness of everyday life” and act as a counterpoint to all the “pervasive and corrosive” ad campaigns?
- Are you fighting this battle alone–with no “communal” support? …just depending on what you receive at church? …failing to seek God for yourself to discern what “is necessary for a fruitful life and what is extraneous?”
Abba, you’re a good, good father–it’s who you are … and I’m loved by you–it’s who I am…. (Chris Tomlin)
For more: Feasting on the Gospels: John (Part II), eds, Cynthia Jarvis and Elizabeth Johnson
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. My goal is to share something of real value with you in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“When we visited the makeshift tent city, I was angry. Oh yes—angry with God, angry with the world, angry with my own self. How is this place even possible in our world? I could not bear the smell, the sights, the truth of the place, and I saw babies the age of my tinies there. …and all of my carefully reasoned understandings about how everyone has a different calling and some of us are just called to different things than poverty relief and caring for orphans stank rank like heresy. I walked the rubble and nodded my gentle French Canadian bonsoir to their Creole bonswa as dusk gathered, and suddenly a thought broke into my mind: I would be terrified here. I would be so scared in the darkness. How did these women bear it? And one of our guides told me how before the United Nations installed spotlights it was literally a ‘rape camp.’ And then we stood in that very same tent city, among our Haitian brothers and sisters, babies in our laps, and we sang the canvas roof off: ‘Glory, glory, glory to God; he’s been good to us! Amen! Amen!’ Me? I want to throw things when I am disappointed in my nice life. I pout, and I do not sing praise, because apparently, I expect my life to be perfect and clean and ideal and as pretty as Pinterest. I didn’t want to cry in their church, out of respect, and so I sneaked my tears down my face. I still don’t know if I was grieving or angry in that moment. A boy about seven years old asked me to marry him someday—such a flirt. …I think I got born again, all over again, that night, and now God smells like sweat, like open sewage ditches, like charcoal and avocados in addition to my northern lakes and pine trees, clean air, and water.” Sarah Bessey
“I will sing praises to your name.” 2 Samuel 22:50
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you a privileged person? How often to you think about it?
- Have you ever left home for a really different place and been “born again, all over again?”
- Are you quick to pout and slow to praise? What does your answer say about you?
Abba, the poor can teach me. Help me learn from them.
For More: Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
“Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety…. Why do we now live in anxiety? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when I read: Is not man’s life on earth a time of trial? …when the words still ring in my ears: Watch and pray that you will not be put to the test? …when there are so many temptations here below that prayer itself reminds us of them…? Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brothers, while we are still in the midst of this evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil. … God’s praises are sung both [in heaven] and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live for ever; here they are sung in hope, there, in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country. …sing as wayfarers do – sing, but continue your journey.” Augustine
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.” 1 Chronicles 16:23
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- As Christians, we have tasted of security, peace and eternal life, but they are not yet fully ours. Even so, we sing to remind ourselves that a better day is coming. Do you sense that you’re “not yet” what you should be? At the same time, have you experienced the “already” – that foretaste of what’s to come?
- Does your worship express “hope” that looks forward to the day when there will be no more “not yet?”
- Will you determine to be one who “sings then, but keeps on going” – living faithfully “as wayfarers do” in this time of waiting?
Abba, in worship encourage us as we wait for the salvation of all things.
For More: Augustine of Hippo – Selected Writings
Thanks for reading! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Worship is the strategy
by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves
and attend to the presence of God.
[It’s the] time and place
that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God …
because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
we have no chance of attending to him at all
at other times and in other places.”
“I have set Yahweh continually before me ….”
* I think Peterson’s words, perhaps written about corporate worship,
apply at least a much to personal, daily times of prayer, meditation and contemplation.
From the Head to the Heart
- Do you agree that you are preoccupied with yourself? that your sense of self-importance is “insidiously relentless?”
- Do you have a strategy to practice “deliberate attentiveness to God” today? to “set Yahweh continually before you?”
- Can you interrupt whatever you’re doing now and take a few minutes to attend to the presence of God?
Abba, help me to leave spaces to hear from you in each day, to learn to quiet the competing noise within, and to be aware of your presence in every event, every relationship, every space of the day.
For More: The Peterson quote is from Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than about 300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)