Monday, January 12, 2009

The Good Life Sermon 8--"What Can This Relationship Do for Me?"

On Sunday, January 4th I taught the eighth message in my series called The Good Life: Redeeming Suburbia through Counter-cultural Living, in which I am contrasting the message of suburbia about living the good life with the message of Jesus about living the good life. We talked about the seventh myth of suburban living, "What Can This Relationship Do for Me?"

In short, we treat people as a means to an end. We don't have friends--we have contacts. We maintain relationships with people because of the things they can do for us.

In contrast, John 4 recounts the story of Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritan woman couldn't do anything for Jesus. He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan woman. By all social mores, he shouldn't have even talked to her. Further, the woman was probably the talk of the town as she had been divorced five times and she was living with a sixth guy to whom she wasn't married. The whole conversation would have been a little scandalous.

But Jesus was always a little scandalous. He didn't care about the kind of social standing a person had. He didn't use people to climb the social ladder. He treated people like people. In the same way, we should treat people like people, not like a means to an end. Maybe we all need a few more friends and a few less contacts.
You can listen to this sermon, others in The Good Life series, or any recent sermons by me or Gary Albert here.


tapsearcher said...

See The Rationale Quest at which explores philosophy and religion related to workers and labor in the global economic arena. Ray Tapajna calls workers the stepchildren of philosophy and religion with free trade and globalization fracturing the common good.

For a series of reviews of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, see

tapsearcher said...

The sermon on the mount is a tough act to follow. We know what Perfect Love is. We can define it as human beings but being finite creatures we know will never experience it on earth.

Perfect Love is something outside of our earthly existence. But not to pursue this impossible dream brings madness.

In our western culture, we pursue it by finding useful good and a path that is visible to our nature.

It seems pragmatism governs us but we can still plug this into our journey on earth as wanderers from another place.

Now we find our path ahead full of ruts and rocks related to our economic crisis.

What do we do?
We know that Perfect Love is God Himself ( you can defer that extension for awhile but sooner or later you will take it into your soul ). For now, just promote the useful good in your life and in community and society where you live. What is the primary useful good you can use to do your part?

I am an advocate for human dignity in the workday and fair trade and hopefully this useful good will steer many towards the impossible dream of Perfect Love praying that it will be part of us in our quest.

We consider this our "ministry".
No matter what spiritual community I experienced in life, the workday was the biggest stumbling block in the path to Perfect Love.