Friday, 10 March 2006

To Whom Shall I Turn? Thoughts on Psalm 40

These past few weeks have been somewhat fraught. Someone gave me Psalm 40 as being, perhaps, something for me from the Lord at this time.

This morning verse 4 caught my attention:
Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
A good thing about the stresses of the last while has been that I have had, out of sheer need; sometimes even fearing for my livelihood and for the welfare of my congregation; to turn to the Lord for help...often and with some energy. I have, of necessity, had to make the Lord my trust.

Who are the proud to whom I must not turn? Who are those who go astray after a lie? What is the lie?

I believe the lie is not just a simple proposition. It is a system of thinking with a spiritual core. This system of thinking does not come from God.

In the "Faith & Reason" section of The Calgary Herald around January 9th this year, they interviewed British philosopher, John Haldane, who said this
society is out of control. This is not because it's in the hands of people who have a deep philosophy and another anthropology...It's just the hand of the marketplace, which is not a principle at all, except the principle of protecting choice, any choice...One way of describing the system I'm writing about is "the hand of the marketplace."
A facet of this system which is impacting our church at the moment is the re-interpreting of the Scriptures so that the church can "protect choice, any choice." The whole biblical idea of sexuality having to do with male, female and marriage is revised so that homosexual sex (or any other sexual activity outside of marriage), is not only not a sin, but a valid, even Godly, choice.

This is one part of the lie. There are others.

For example, we are hearing from some Anglican church leaders that Jesus is no longer the only way to salvation. It doesn't matter what we believe as long as we believe something. Any choice is valid.

Another part of the lie is relaxation of biblical principles with regard to how we use our money. The result of this is that the church can no longer operate on the proceeds of tithes and offerings but finds it necessary to hire for-profit, fund-raising businesses to pay for its ministry. The spiritual problem here is love of Mammon at least permitted, if not encouraged, as the Church of Christ submits to "the hand of the marketplace."

The sad thing is that this lie is being espoused and promoted out of kindness. These people honestly think they're doing the right thing. But they are, tragically, going astray after a lie and they are leading others down the same path.

I am not to turn to them.

The trouble is, to disagree is to risk being labelled as unkind, narrow, biggoted and simplistic by these "kind" people. I feel patronized by some of them who are leaders in my denomination. I sense spiritual pride in their attitude which comes from a "we are the educated and sophisticated ones who really know what is what. We know what's best for you people in the pews and in the primitive third-world. The church is changing, if you don't like it, leave." Are these the proud I am not to turn to?


And yet, I am very much aware that in the midst of all this, sin crouches at my door, too, and I must master it.

Lord, have mercy on us all, and thank you for Psalm 40.


Dave Baker said...
I share in your dilemna, particularly in that speaking out often labels us as narrow-minded etc. I will meditate on Psalm 40 as well. I pray that God's voice will be heard and we will turn to Him, no matter the cost.