Deflating the Misery Index

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy … “ Romans 15:13

Statistics show that you are miserable—albeit less miserable than you were last year.

Did you know that there’s such a thing as the Misery Index? In the 1970s, Arthur Okun, created a simple formula to measure the happiness of the average American. The equation is the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate, and as of February of 2015, the number is the lowest it’s been since the mid-1950s.

But, Americans still express a dismal outlook about the next six months. A recent article on NPR suggests that the formula is just too simple for today’s economy. They factor wage growth and consumer debt into the equation and surmise that the economy is still the culprit for our misery.

But what if there’s more to it? St. Augustine said, “”You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” And God’s own Word tells us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Even those who deny the deity of Christ or shun His saving sacrifice, understand the need for hope, joy and peace. It is the lack of those things that inflates our misery index—not simply empty pockets. As Christians, we possess the antibody to the world’s misery. In the grip of Christ, misery is indeed foreign to us; the love of Christ has dispelled it.

As we brave the world today, let’s flavor our witness with joy. The world is ripe for it.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hitler’s Third Reich: A Wake Up Call To America

flag-650x400What does the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich have to do with America’s current sociopolitical climate?

An interest in German martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has resurged, perhaps because of parallels with Christians in the current United States. Bonhoeffer’s biography crystallizes the spiritual nature of Hitler’s rise to power. Here are a few ingredients trending in current culture that have a troubling precedent in Hitler’s rise to totalitarianism …

Read the rest of this article by Emily Tomko here:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hitler’s Third Reich: A Wake Up Call to America

Who Do I Have to Love?

Every kid asks the question at some point.  In fact, most adults are still asking it quietly in their heads, although most of them have formulated an answer that belies their behavior.  What’s the question?

“Aren’t some sins worse than others?”

Will Davis Jr titled the fifth chapter in his book, “Ten Things Jesus Never Said,” It’s Okay Not to Love Certain People.  Yes, those two thoughts are related.  It seems that most people, due to the fact that they are human, cannot reconcile the concepts of disapproval and love.

The news is inescapable: Certain denominations are condoning homosexual behavior to the extent of ordaining them in leadership positions, other denominations are demonizing them for this blatant disobedience to God’s word.  Murder is justified by the age of the victim.  Spending beyond our means is acceptable if it makes us happy.  Sexual immorality is permissible if it’s only pictures.  Do some of these lies sound familiar?

How about this one: “It’s okay to judge.  It’s okay to condemn.  It’s okay to write off, avoid, criticize, dislike, and even hate people whose lifestyles repulse you.  The more sinful they are, the more it’s permissible to bash them.” (pg. 79)

Davis gives several modern examples of Christians behaving according to this unbiblical ethic.  Think of slandering a public figure that you don’t respect, or name-calling a celebrity with an immoral lifestyle.  Personally, the pastor of a church I once attended was discovered to have propositioned several women in the congregation.  As his insidious behavior became public knowledge, I participated in defaming him.  While demanding that he repent of his sin, I was engaging in a sin that would just as surely condemn me to hell.

“God doesn’t hate gays, [or any other specific sinner] and a person isn’t automatically condemned to hell just because he or she is gay.  It’s a sin, but it’s not THE sin – even though many churches and Christians preach, teach and act as if it is.” (pg 78)

Davis concludes every chapter of his book  with, Come to Me, All You Who are Weary and Burdened.  It’s surprising how exhausting it is to take the fight to someone, to argue or to hate.  Jesus calls us to love; Davis shows us that obedience to this command is for our good – it brings us peace.

Col 3:14 “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”