Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Well Lived Life

I'm reading a book that argues against the idea of dualism. The author points out that the Bible does not suggest that the material world is evil and suggest that we should long to escape from our physical bodies to attain pure spiritual existence. In fact, the Bible teaches that the physical creation was made good - and that our eternal destiny will be as physical beings on a physical earth - albeit as resurrected physical beings on a renewed physical earth.

I am about a quarter of the way through the book. I agree with the substance of the author's arguments so far, but I'm nervous about his motives. So far there seems to be a suggestion that Americans should be pretty complacent about the amount of time and money they use to entertain themselves in their leisure activities.

Christians should strive to live life well. We should enjoy the blessings God has given us - good food, good company, beautiful scenery. We should live with joy and appreciation - overflowing with thanksgiving. People should read and walk and eat and exercise. They should travel and explore and experience the vast diversity God has put on the earth. We should get up and get out and live our lives to the full - smell the flowers, taste the food, relish the view, cherish friends and family.

But as twenty first century Americans we have so much leisure time and so many channels of entertainment that we are in danger of smothering the truly good life under piles of frivolous pursuits. It may not be sin to watch a football game. But it can be when all you think about is football and you neglect your family during football season and you rob your boss of your services during football season and you are absent from worship throughout football season.

And something is always in season. 

We are entertaining ourselves to death when we should be taking a cue from the wisdom writers and practicing self control. We need some leisure time. Perhaps we even need some entertainment. But entertainment and leisure time cannot properly be the organizing center of the 
Christian life. 

Something is wrong with American Christianity and I don't think it is that we put too much into our spiritual lives and forget to enjoy the pleasures of God's creation.