Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him.
Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries. “They can’t flourish to their fullest potential when the valuable time of our leaders is divided.”
Does consumerism even have an eschatology? I say it does, although it takes on a different shape than the eschatology of progress seen in Enlightenment thought, or the trajectory toward liberation seen in today’s proponents of the sexual revolution. Here’s a portion of Eschatological Discipleship where I explore some ways we as Christians must re-envision our lives in order to fight against a consumer mindset that would distort our faith.
My husband and I value marriage and singleness, so sometimes we end up encouraging our brothers toward a life of undistracted devotion for as long as they’re able and for the good of the kingdom. But we also at times nudge one of our friends toward asking a girl out, help them process a break-up, or encourage one of them to more seriously consider the possibility of marriage with a “mere friend.” From the guys considering a relationship, we often hear refrains of hesitance: “Will we be good ministry partners?” or “Will she make a good pastor’s wife?” or “Will we be stronger as a couple than we are apart?”
The Bible teaches, emphatically, that we cannot outrun death. Our days are numbered and we cannot presume upon tomorrow (Job. 14:5). Therefore, we should live with the length of eternity, not the length of our earthly days, on the forefront of our minds by stewarding our time like our money—saving it, investing it, and using it, with wisdom and intentionality.
Along with these in game habits, there are the other thoughts and feelings that simmer below the surface. The pump of the blood when I know there’s a ballgame. The feeling of comparison when my child gets out there with the rest of the team. The desire for him to be the best that could erupt into anger if he doesn’t perform well. All of this over 8-year-old baseball.
Yeah, those things are there too. Again, to my shame.
Maybe you can relate.
Produce is naturally produced. Apple trees don’t have to think to produce apples. Asparagus doesn’t have to plan to produce asparagus. It is the natural result of what it is. And the same is true for a Christian. From one point of view, the natural result of being a changed person, a saved person, a new creation, regenerated by the Spirit, an adopted son or daughter, is that we have the fruit of that new life being produced in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is being produced in our lives because we have the Spirit dwelling inside. It is producing this fruit in you and through you.
A favorite from the archives:
The other day, I finally had a chance to get together with one of my pastors, have some coffee and chat. As we talked about books, ministry, stuff going on in our lives, he mentioned, “Say, have you seen this video?” A well-known Canadian pastor had shared a satirical video about why men couldn’t be pastors. The idea behind it was to redirect the reasons women hear about why they can’t be pastors to show the ridiculousness of each: so lots of talk about reproductive cycles, moodiness, emotionalism, and that sort of thing.
I went home and checked out the video. And it was… kind of silly, really. And I don’t mean the humorous sort of silliness. It was sad. It was sad because if women are actually being told they can’t be pastors because of the effects of the reproductive cycle then the person saying such things needs to be corrected, and quite firmly. Those aren’t biblical reasons—and whenever Christians say we believe something is or is not acceptable, it should be because of what the Bible actually says, not because we’re making stuff up.