I just asked a friend what a spiritual topic was – she said, “Greed.”
Wasn’t what I would have thought of… I might, however, have said something like selfishness or consumerism.
We all use different words, but at bottom we all deal with the same spiritual issues.
One of the things I believe liberals underestimated and conservatives over stereotyped in the last century is simply “sin.”
Beneath all the problems in the world and beneath all the things I wish I did but don’t – is sin.
Sin is captured best for me in Philippians 3:19 than probably any other passage in scripture. Listen to this language and the picture it conveys:
“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.”
Destiny is destruction. God is their stomach. And glory in shame. In other words, trouble on the horizon, appetite and idolatry intertwined and the celebration of sinful living.
Isn’t this powerful imagery for sin?
Whether it’s greed, selfishness, consumerism, lust, gossip, competition or just about any other symptom of sin – it all begins with the thing itself alive in our belly. It begins with appetites over faith.
Whether we downplay sin (liberalism) or locate it in its expressions (moralism), I believe eventually we come back to having to deal with the thing itself.
Sin and our need for a cure. Captivity and our need for salvation.
The Gospel radiates good news precisely because there are shackles only it can unlock.