Tim Challies gives this book a bit of a serve, but I decided recently that it might be important to read more books where I know I might disagree with the author. A good way to sharpen what I DO believe in.
So far I’ve found that I enjoy it. There are certainly some areas that are a helpful & thoughtful challenge. One such section was what Richard Mouw (the author) calls “A Hierarchy of labels.” Speaking to a Lutheran friend, they understood themselves as:
“First & foremost a human being… second a Christian… thirdly a protestant & finally a Lutheran.”
If I had my way, I would love everyone in the world to be a “Capital R” reformed protestant, and even better if they were Anglican (or at a pinch, Presbyterian), but in the end, the gospel I am preaching is not the Anglican gospel, or even the reformed gospel, but the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do think these other “labels” become important when it comes down to the way that we understand God and the way we interact with them, but I am far more interested in someone saying with confidence that they can “confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead” (Rom 10:9)
What is that fundamental label that we define ourselves by?
I guess many of the labels change depending on who we are defining ourselves to, but “Created by God” and “and a son adopted through Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf” is the bedrock for me.
Changing tack slightly, do you know what label I dislike? The label “Arty!” For years I felt it was a label used to exult others while denigrating me, the uninspired drone…. then, during college, I somehow earned an element of “artiness” through my passion for photography. I think I disliked the label even more then.
For me the joy has always been finding the “art” in people’s lives. I still feel strongly, that the person committed to the sales process, the subliminal psychology that happens in brief relationships, etc, can turn service at McDonalds into art. I love to see the art of checkout staff at the supermarket, when their fingers dance across screens in a well practiced quickstep, or the crisp efficiency of the barista, extracting every ounce of beauty out of some cooked beans….
For mind, when you throw around the “arty” term, you rob the general populace of the beauty of their world, narrowing it to a world of paint, pencils, and sculptors clay. Watch Kings of Pastry and tell me you’re not watching artists!
So my question.
What’s the label that is fundamentally important to you, and which would you ditch?