What is the good life you want to come home to?
“Four attractive young women on the TV screen sit on the beach at a luxury resort obviously enjoying the surf, sun and one another. Suddenly, a small plane appears overhead, trailing a huge sign, which says in large letters, “ANNA WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Anna’s friends immediately embraced her and excitedly jump up and down, celebrating this surprising wedding invitation. The plane makes a second pass over the beach. This time the trailing sign is extended to read, “ANNA WILL YOU MARRY ME…. & PAY OFF ALL MY CREDIT CARDS?”
Obviously Anna’s suitor knew exactly the future he wanted to come home to: life with Anna without any of his accumulated debt. What images come to mind when you think of coming home? What kind of future do you want to come home to?” is a question I asked in The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time.
I have, over my years here in Seattle, seen at least a half dozen older Christian couples answered this question in a way I found very concerning. For example Ed and Edith used the resources they had accumulated over a lifetime to move to a luxurious one bedroom apartment in a lavish resort in Arizona. They pulled up relationships in their church and community that they had nurtured for over 40 years to live the final years of their lives in a lavish resort lifestyle playing bridge and golf into the sunset. Ed and Edith had been very active in their Presbyterian Church here in Seattle and considered themselves committed themselves serious Christians. But as I talked to them about this decision to retire in this luxury resort it became clear that they saw this as a personal choice that had nothing to do with their Christian faith. I seriously doubt that they were ever in a bible study group that ever brought scripture to bear on cultural values like: “what is a biblical view of the good life of God and how is it different from a cultural notion of the good life?”
I know many of the people who read my posts claim a high view of scripture…including evangelicals, those from Reformed traditions, neo-Calvinists and those in other traditions. How is it possible to claim a high view of scripture that is supposed to shape all of life and bring scripture to bear on our spiritual and moral values but almost never on our cultural values? How is it possible to claim a high view of scripture and never bring scripture to bear on helping us define a biblical view of the good life as we start our lives or in our senior years? Is it possible that many of us have settled for a compartmentalized faith where American culture that tends to define the good life in terms of buying into autonomous lifestyles and the endless pursuit of more….and where faith is too often trivialized to a devotional add-on to our real lives?
What is the good life you want to come home to and how is it shaped by biblical images of homecoming that we celebrate the resurrection of Christ?