Monday, September 15, 2008

Security = Comfort?

I keep coming back to this observation:

The role of a democratic leader is to insure that the "bad" does not inflict the mass population who generally seek only to lead quiet, comfortable and prosperous lives.

John Howard and the Art of Democratic Leadership, Gregory Melleuish-Quadrant July-August 2006

For me it sums up some of my frustration with the Christianity of middle class suburbia. As this observation suggests Australians aspire to live secure lives, lives that are focused on being risk adverse, materially comfortable and contained. As a Christian living in middle class suburbia I regularly feel the tug and embrace of this seduction.

My wresting with this issue is not that I don’t want security or enjoy good things it's that settling for this kind of security is like settling for a mud pie when a pecan pie with vanilla ice cream is on offer (lemon meringue comes close -with apologies to C.S Lewis) .

1 Peter 2:9-12 puts it like this

9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, ......10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

That's true security! Take a moment to feel its warm embrace.

The purpose:

9 ..that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

There appears to be two implications of true security.

1. True security leads to the praise of God (Psalm 61 has the same flow) Away from our self focus and into the presence of God. The more security the more praise?

2. If we accept John Dickson’s argument this praise is also an “act of announcing to the world the good news of the Gospel”. True security leads us to take more “risks”. I take it this is what is implied in the next few verses.

11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:11-12

So if our security is found in God’s mercy it leads to a kind of praise which I think puts us (in the terms of this world) at greater risk. It seems at odds with leading quiet, comfortable and prosperous lives. When I think of it like that I am always amazed that I find mud pies so attractive.

2 comments:

Justin said...

GOod call, Mr Bray.

ekristiaman said...

I am totally agree with you, Roger. It's so encouraging to know that you are wresting about this. I do hope and pray God would preserve "more than 7000 others"(1 King 19:18) in Australia who have the same heart. God bless.