Thursday, April 19, 2007

Facts of the Matter

In a sense, Dwight Hill has been somewhat of a business mentor to me. Roughly seven years I discovered his weekly postings (it wasn't called blogging back then) at Facts of the Matter. I've never meet the guy but I can say I've never read a post of his that was not full of great wisdom and application when it comes to pursuing Christ's reign in daily business activities. He just started a three part series called THE “McDONALDIZATION” OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES.

One will benefit greatly by going to his site and reading the huge archive. Below, however, is Dwight's complete posting this week (part 1 of 3). I've marked in bold blue the parts that particularly strike me:

Amidst the hustle and bustle of your professional life, God has a spiritual work he intends to accomplish in and through you to the effect that you become the very character of Christ. In today’s hurried and harried “get it done now” world, three modern day values can well prove to be the bane of your spiritual life and ministry. These values are utilized in guaranteeing the successful production of McDonald hamburgers: Efficiency, calculability, and control.1

Efficiency: Today, we are overloaded with Christian literature, and church related programs and methodology that promise quick and efficient fixes to complex spiritual life issues: Apply these 6 simple steps and viola: Victory is guaranteed over vexing sexual problems, a troubled marriage, or wounded past, etc. In previous generations, solutions to the sinful human condition came through deep commitment, as one poured and prayed over the Scriptures. This was a process that followers of Christ understood extended over a life time. Classic Christianity saw the journey “as a means of personal growth, engagement and transformation. The sorrows, tiredness, and dangers of the journey led to renewal and transformation…Today, however, the idea is to get to the journey’s end as quickly as possible with a minimum of inconvenience…”2

The reality is that God’s working of His life into ours will not be accomplished in mini sound bites or by quick fix methodology. At best, the modern mind seems to demand a shortened process of shallow doses of time alone with God, to be caught on the run and sandwiched in between our work and our toys. The very idea that spiritual transformation is a slow, deliberate process is vexing to most moderns who move at warp speed in the concrete jungle of PDA’s, Wi Fi, the “Journal”, multi-tasking, and pressurized deadlines.

The truth is that if God is to be known, He simply will not be rushed. Therefore, he is infinitely more concerned about the deliberate maturation process than he is in its “efficient” accomplishment. If we are to be transformed and liberated into His freedom, the maturing progression demands relaxed, quiet periods alone with God and His word as we ponder, soak on, and apply His eternal truths. In this context, there simply is no quick substitute for times of healthy introspection and soul-searching. Generic to this process of transformation is learning to cultivate the art of disciplined listening to the quiet voice of Jesus through the Spirit. “…My servant [Jesus]…will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets.” (Isa. 42:1b, 2b) Yet we tend to resist His wooing: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isa. 30:15b)

QUESTION: In today’s inch deep and mile wide McDonaldized brand of efficient, “get it done now” Christianity, are you willing to break with this trivialized sub-culture and deliberately set aside sufficient, daily time to allow yourself to de-compress, and slow down – until the Spirit can penetrate, speak, convict, heal, transform, and lead? If not, you have already joined the McDonaldized “Christian” society of callow, trendy, will of the wisp, here today, gone tomorrow brand of insipid Christianity. And that, my friend is a modern day tragedy.

1 In 1993 sociologist George Ritzer coined the term, “McDonaldization” to describe a trend that challenged modern American culture. By that, he meant “the process by which the principles of the fast food restaurant coming to dominate more and more sections of American society.” George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation into the changing Contemporary Social Life, Thousand Oaks, CA – Pine Forge Press

2 Alister E. McGrath, The Future of Christianity, Pages 52,53, Malden, Mass., Blackwell Press, 2002

R. Dwight Hill
I am looking forward to part two and three. I will post them when they come out over the next two weeks.


Kim N. said...

Thanks Pat. I look forward to the next 2 parts. I do fall into the idea of just Get ur done.

ron said...

"At best, the modern mind seems to demand a shortened process of shallow doses of time alone with God, to be caught on the run and sandwiched in between our work and our toys."

Of which many of us would say that's just the way it is.