Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why the “Beautiful Things” are Most Dangerous

I’m about halfway through Shane Clairborne & Chris Haw’s ironically titled Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. It’s a pretty fast read, thanks especially to the book’s relentless graphic design (check the web-site out, you'll see what I mean). The book isn’t without its share of controversy (just Google the title and read the blogs), but the following quote really struck me.

It’s the beautiful things that get us. Perhaps the greatest seduction is not the ANTI-GOD, but the ALMOST*GOD. Poisonous fruit can look pretty tasty. That’s what is so dangerous about ideas like FREEDOM, PEACE AND JUSTICE. They are all seductive qualities, close to the heart of God. After all, it’s the beautiful things we kill and die for. And it’s the beautiful we market, exploit, brand and counterfeit.

WE FIND OURSELVES POSSESSED BY OUR POSSESSIONS . . .

and enslaved by the pursuit of freedom. Nations fighting for peace end up perpetuating the very violence they seek to destroy. Serpents are slippery and slimy things.

MOST of the ugliness in the human narrative comes from a distorted quest to possess beauty. COVETING begins with appreciating blessing. MURDER begins with a hunger for justice. LUST begins with a recognition of beauty. GLUTTONY begins when our enjoyment of the delectable gifts of GOD starts to consume us. IDOLATRY begins when our seeing a reflection of God in something beautiful leads to our thinking that the beautiful image bearer is worthy of WORSHIP (pg. 26).

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