Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Serving Jesus in a culture of abundance

Last weekend I picked up the next book from my 'to-read' stack (which has become a wall that divides my room in two), The 180 Degree Christian by Carter Conlon, the senior pastor of Times Square Church in New York. An interesting read so far.

Conlon zooms in on our westernized Christianity. It feels kind of awkward and uncomfortable to look in the mirror of our own faith. Yet, at the same time I am recognizing a theme that keeps coming back in this present time. How can we practice basic Christianity in a culture of abundance?

No matter how sincere we try to focus, every now and then we all get distracted by life's worries AND luxuries at the same time. Let me know if anyone has found a way to avoid this :) I write about this struggle between our natural and spiritual life in my latest book My Neighbor's House. Honesty is the key when writing about all the stuff that will distract us from being focused on the great commandment and the great commission.

I remember how, years ago, I drove around in a USA city at night, for the very first time in my life. All the lights, all the bill boards, all the blinking and flickering signs... It was all new to me. I cried out to my husband: 'I can't see the traffic lights, there are too many colors.' It seems funny now, but isn't this how it feels to live in a culture where there is plenty of choices, plenty of everything? No wonder we sometimes loose sight of clear directions.

If you're ready to pick up a book (or two) on stewardship and holy living, you might want to consider The 180 degree Christian and/or My Neighbor's House.
Happy reading!


  1. Whew! That must have been a real eye opener, or should I say, eye closer, for you? Great thoughts, Marja! And so true. Bless you!

    1. Isn't it wonderful how we can learn spiritual lessons from our natural circumstances?
      Thanks for stopping by Lynn.

  2. I agree, this is so true. Will have to check these books out. :)

    When my husband returned from a mission trip to Guatemala years ago, one of his observations was that "God is not an American." We base so much of what we believe on our culture, and it's not always how things are. Good post, Marja. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I can relate to what your husband said Karen. The first time I went to the Middle East I knew for sure Jesus couldn't be blond and blue-eyed!

  3. Hi Marja -

    I don't think abundance is the problem as much as the watering down of our faith. Abraham was greatly blessed of God, but that didn't stop him from being a true servant.

    We're told in Scripture to guard our hearts. When we put Him first in our lives, everything else that would draw us away is an inferior copy.


    1. You're right Susan, God promises us an abundant life, I surely believe so. The problem is that we often let if get in the way of our devotion.
      Thanks again for commenting Susan, bless you.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my book blogger post.

    You have a BEAUTIFUL BLOG.

    Happy Hopping!!

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