Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Motivation to throw out your television

from Jonathan Edwards' sermon The Christian Pilgrim, which I dare say is singly better than the sum total of evangelical ink spilled in the last fifteen years. You would do well to read it.


Labor to obtain such a disposition of mind that you may choose heaven for your inheritance and home, and may earnestly long for it and be willing to change this world, and all its enjoyments, for heaven. Labor to have your heart taken up so much about heaven, and heavenly enjoyments, as that you may rejoice when God calls you to leave your best earthly friends and comforts for heaven, there to enjoy God and Christ.



Be persuaded to travel in the way that leads to heaven: viz. in holiness, self-denial, mortification, obedience to all the commands of God, following Christ’s example [and] in a way of a heavenly life, or imitation of the saints and angels in heaven. Let it be your daily work, from morning till night, and hold out in it to the end. Let nothing stop or discourage you, or turn you aside from this road. And let all other concerns be subordinated to this. Consider the reasons that have been mentioned why you should thus spend your life: that this world is not your abiding place, that the future world is to be your everlasting abode, and that the enjoyments and concerns of this world are given entirely in order to another. And consider further for motive.



1. How worthy is heaven that your life should be wholly spent as a journey towards it. — To what better purpose can you spend your life, whether you respect your duty or your interest? What better end can you propose to your journey, than to obtain heaven? You are placed in this world with a choice given you, that you may travel which way you please, and one way leads to heaven. Now, can you direct your course better than this way? All men have some aim or other in living. Some mainly seek worldly things. They spend their days in such pursuits. But is not heaven, where is fullness of joy forever, much more worthy to be sought by you? How can you better employ your strength, use your means, and spend your days, than in traveling the road that leads to the everlasting enjoyment of God: to his glorious presence, to the new Jerusalem, to the heavenly mount Zion, where all your desires will be filled and no danger of ever losing your happiness? — No man is at home in this world, whether he choose heaven or not: here he is but a transient person. Where can you choose your home better than in heaven?

6 Comments:

Blogger Bob M said...

Thank you Ryan.

3/02/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous nathan said...

Ryan: I am disappointed. The title of this post was misleading. I thought "Woo hoo! Ryan's going to help me convince my wife to throw out the television and get a plasma!" Imagine my surprise to realize there was nothing about televisions at all in the body of your article.

Jonathan: Of course, I know what you're trying to say. It's the age old "can't create love for God? throw out the tv"; "think you'd have trouble controlling your liquor consumption? call drinking a sin"; "lusting after strange women? boycott Kmart and call popular music evil"; and "have a problem with gluttony? stop eating" argument. Oops, I guess I've never really heard that last one, but it should follow logically. I'm personally quite fond of denying and destroying inanimate, amoral objects as a mental crutch for spiritual problems.

I appreciate the zealous fervor, Mr Edwards, but I can't realistically take a Puritan's writings as the authority on living and interacting with the world around us. That's like quoting Calvin on how to be a people pleaser. Knowing historically how you and other Puritans lived, your picture of "the journey to heaven" doesn't seem like what any Christians today are trying to or should be trying to achieve. Going back to a different book that I think is even better than yours, I remember passages like I Corinthians 9, I Timothy 4, Romans 14, Romans 2, and others. Some talk about things of this world that God gave to be enjoyed; others talk about the importance of relating to men in order to see them saved; another states that many practices are to be left up to the sensibilities of the individual. The overall feeling is that God gave us this life to be enjoyed for His glory. The things we do, believing them to be both acceptable to God and glorifying to Him, are not to be looked down upon by other believers. It is the Spirit Who santifies us, and no amount of psychological [and poetic] exercise can make up for that.

Also, Mr Edwards, you might want to watch your eschatological references in this neighborhood. I agree with you, but some might think you forgot about the Rapture, Tribulation and Millenium when you say things like "traveling the road...to the new Jerusalem, to the heavenly mount Zion" when describing this life. I've got your back.

3/03/2006 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bob M said...

Nathan,
The reference to eschatology was totally off the topic. Every old writer had differences with us evangelicals who obviously have everything right, especially those of us who get our theology from Frodo and Bruce Wilkinson (sp?).

3/03/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous The Apostle Paul said...

ει ουν συνηγερθητε τω χριστω τα ανω ζητειτε ου ο χριστος εστιν εν δεξια του θεου καθημενος

τα ανω φρονειτε μη τα επι της γης

απεθανετε γαρ και η ζωη υμων κεκρυπται συν τω χριστω εν τω θεω

οταν ο χριστος φανερωθη η ζωη ημων τοτε και υμεις συν αυτω φανερωθησεσθε εν δοξη

3/03/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous nathan said...

Oh, that Apostle Paul. Always speaking in tongues. I wish I had a translation of that.

3/03/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bob M said...

Col 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

3/03/2006 10:32:00 AM  

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Immoderate: Motivation to throw out your television

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Motivation to throw out your television

from Jonathan Edwards' sermon The Christian Pilgrim, which I dare say is singly better than the sum total of evangelical ink spilled in the last fifteen years. You would do well to read it.


Labor to obtain such a disposition of mind that you may choose heaven for your inheritance and home, and may earnestly long for it and be willing to change this world, and all its enjoyments, for heaven. Labor to have your heart taken up so much about heaven, and heavenly enjoyments, as that you may rejoice when God calls you to leave your best earthly friends and comforts for heaven, there to enjoy God and Christ.



Be persuaded to travel in the way that leads to heaven: viz. in holiness, self-denial, mortification, obedience to all the commands of God, following Christ’s example [and] in a way of a heavenly life, or imitation of the saints and angels in heaven. Let it be your daily work, from morning till night, and hold out in it to the end. Let nothing stop or discourage you, or turn you aside from this road. And let all other concerns be subordinated to this. Consider the reasons that have been mentioned why you should thus spend your life: that this world is not your abiding place, that the future world is to be your everlasting abode, and that the enjoyments and concerns of this world are given entirely in order to another. And consider further for motive.



1. How worthy is heaven that your life should be wholly spent as a journey towards it. — To what better purpose can you spend your life, whether you respect your duty or your interest? What better end can you propose to your journey, than to obtain heaven? You are placed in this world with a choice given you, that you may travel which way you please, and one way leads to heaven. Now, can you direct your course better than this way? All men have some aim or other in living. Some mainly seek worldly things. They spend their days in such pursuits. But is not heaven, where is fullness of joy forever, much more worthy to be sought by you? How can you better employ your strength, use your means, and spend your days, than in traveling the road that leads to the everlasting enjoyment of God: to his glorious presence, to the new Jerusalem, to the heavenly mount Zion, where all your desires will be filled and no danger of ever losing your happiness? — No man is at home in this world, whether he choose heaven or not: here he is but a transient person. Where can you choose your home better than in heaven?

6 Comments:

Blogger Bob M said...

Thank you Ryan.

3/02/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous nathan said...

Ryan: I am disappointed. The title of this post was misleading. I thought "Woo hoo! Ryan's going to help me convince my wife to throw out the television and get a plasma!" Imagine my surprise to realize there was nothing about televisions at all in the body of your article.

Jonathan: Of course, I know what you're trying to say. It's the age old "can't create love for God? throw out the tv"; "think you'd have trouble controlling your liquor consumption? call drinking a sin"; "lusting after strange women? boycott Kmart and call popular music evil"; and "have a problem with gluttony? stop eating" argument. Oops, I guess I've never really heard that last one, but it should follow logically. I'm personally quite fond of denying and destroying inanimate, amoral objects as a mental crutch for spiritual problems.

I appreciate the zealous fervor, Mr Edwards, but I can't realistically take a Puritan's writings as the authority on living and interacting with the world around us. That's like quoting Calvin on how to be a people pleaser. Knowing historically how you and other Puritans lived, your picture of "the journey to heaven" doesn't seem like what any Christians today are trying to or should be trying to achieve. Going back to a different book that I think is even better than yours, I remember passages like I Corinthians 9, I Timothy 4, Romans 14, Romans 2, and others. Some talk about things of this world that God gave to be enjoyed; others talk about the importance of relating to men in order to see them saved; another states that many practices are to be left up to the sensibilities of the individual. The overall feeling is that God gave us this life to be enjoyed for His glory. The things we do, believing them to be both acceptable to God and glorifying to Him, are not to be looked down upon by other believers. It is the Spirit Who santifies us, and no amount of psychological [and poetic] exercise can make up for that.

Also, Mr Edwards, you might want to watch your eschatological references in this neighborhood. I agree with you, but some might think you forgot about the Rapture, Tribulation and Millenium when you say things like "traveling the road...to the new Jerusalem, to the heavenly mount Zion" when describing this life. I've got your back.

3/03/2006 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bob M said...

Nathan,
The reference to eschatology was totally off the topic. Every old writer had differences with us evangelicals who obviously have everything right, especially those of us who get our theology from Frodo and Bruce Wilkinson (sp?).

3/03/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous The Apostle Paul said...

ει ουν συνηγερθητε τω χριστω τα ανω ζητειτε ου ο χριστος εστιν εν δεξια του θεου καθημενος

τα ανω φρονειτε μη τα επι της γης

απεθανετε γαρ και η ζωη υμων κεκρυπται συν τω χριστω εν τω θεω

οταν ο χριστος φανερωθη η ζωη ημων τοτε και υμεις συν αυτω φανερωθησεσθε εν δοξη

3/03/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous nathan said...

Oh, that Apostle Paul. Always speaking in tongues. I wish I had a translation of that.

3/03/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bob M said...

Col 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

3/03/2006 10:32:00 AM  

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