I have a rant coming on.
With the upcoming elections and everything that is happening in this world, I keep hearing people talk about how bad the world is. I can’t give an exact example but you guys know what I’m talking about. Just, stuff.
Christians in particular have a Biblical basis in arguing that the world is bad. 1 John 2:16 says, “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from God, but is from the world.” So of course, I agree that ‘the world’ is filled with not-so-good things. I’m not about to argue against it.
I’ve met a handful of Christians that are suspicious of the world. As though they are in one part of the room and ‘the world’ is in the other. I know some Christians who are suspicious of secular music – and I understand why – because it can promote “un-Christian” values like over-drinking and promiscuity. (I feel conflicted about condemning female objectification and then jamming out to ‘Blurred Lines.’)
And I see why someone, with a Christian perspective, would recommend caution in letting your kids watch movies about ghosts and demons possessing dolls. The Bible warns us against such supernatural ideas. But I also feel like stressing that the focus should be less on the thing and more on how we relate to it, on what’s going on in our minds.
The temptations of the world, then, are not so much a reflection of what’s wrong with creation; they are an indicator of what’s wrong with us. What’s at issue here is not creation per se, but how we relate to creation… sin is a matter of how, not what. ‘Things’ aren’t sinful; what’s sinful is how we relate to them, what we do with them.*
Essentially, the world is bad because of us, or another way of looking at it is ‘the world’ = us. The world has corrupt tendencies because we have corrupt tendencies. So we shouldn’t act as though the world just happened to us, that it turned bad when we looked away. We caused it with our own fallible human tendencies. We corporately created this faulty culture as a form of wrongly relating to creation. And how does one wrongly relate to creation? Smith says it’s “when we love creation instead of the Creator.”
Personally, I need to keep reminding myself to not act as though the world’s ‘imperfectness’ is separate from my own ‘imperfectness.’ We need to take responsibility for our own fallibility. We can do that by changing the world which starts by changing ourselves.
BECAUSE WE ARE THE WORLD.
That is all. I hope you like the featured photo.
*James K.A.Smith, Letters to a Young Calvinist (Baker Publishing Group: Grand Rapids, 2010)