Spiritual: March 2004 Archives

Greed and Pride

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Josh Claybourn connects greed and pride in an interesting way. He says they're two sides of the same coin. "Pride is taking pleasure in being ahead, greed is discontent over being behind."

One thing to consider, then, is how this relates to Paul's little aside in one of his vice lists, saying that greed is idolatry. Why is greed idolatry? The greedy person has money or possessions at a higher priority than God. Money or possessions will therefore be an idol, and you can't serve both God and mammon.

If pride and greed are connected, then is pride also a form of idolatry? Of course. It's putting yourself as a priority higher on your list than where you've put God. That's as idolatrous as anything. Josh describes greed as one of the root causes of all unhappiness, and his quote from C.S. Lewis shows how the same can be true of pride. I think it's worth thinking about how the reason these are both causes of unhappiness is that they're different instances of making something a god when it isn't and when the true God not only deserves our complete obedience but also desires for us to experience the wonders of his grace when we do give him our trust and allegiance.

I've been wanting to write something with deeper significance for my 200th post. I've been working on this for a couple days and haven't wanted to post anything else because that would then have been the 200th post. I've been meditating on the consequences of the fall in the world, and I'm not talking about sinful and immoral actions or thoughts. I'm just thinking about negative effects in creation that Christianity attributes to the effects of the fall. A number of events in the near past have brought me to these thoughts, and I'll mention some of them as I go. When most people raise questions about God and evil, the issues I'm considering right now are among the foremost in their minds. (After all, evil actions are done by evil people, who then take the blame. The sort of badness I'm thinking of for this post is often even classified under the category of acts of God.)

One of the email discussion groups I'm in went into an off-topic diversion about politics, and someone raised the following arguments against Christians participating in politics (after giving some purely secular arguments against siding with a political party):

I also prescribe to Jesus words to not be any part of this world. He didn't
participate in politics when he was on earth even though many of his
followers wanted him to. His kingdom was not of this world, so why should
mine be? It doesn't matter what country you live in or what party you
belong to, we are supposed to be Christians. We should follow Christ and
not politicians that claim to be Christians.

I think this is an unfortunate attitude. I would say not just that it's not wrong to vote, but that I as a Christian have a responsibility to vote. There's enough to suggest that Jesus' command not to be of the world doesn't mean not voting, because how you vote might just be one way of being in the world but not of it.

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