As someone I trust and respect, I need to let you in on something. More specifically I need to come clean on something I’ve been keeping to myself for a while, but it’s time to get things out in the open.
I’m of the world. There, I said it.
And not only that, I’m of the world, in the world, defined and judged by the world’s standards and, if I am being honest, evaluating myself by the what the world holds up as “good”. I allow the world to tell me what to think, how to act, and what is acceptable in its sight.
And to be honest, it usually doesn’t bother me.
And to make things worse, I let the world tell me what the Bible says, listen to non-Christians on issues like morality, good judgment, and success. I eat spoon-fed portions of “ready-Word”—bland, overgeneralized Cliffs Notes of what the world says the Bible means (or doesn’t mean)— and I eat it in gluttonous portions that make Takeru Kobayashi look like a light snacker.
I prefer someone to dumb down the Bible and its teaching rather than do the heavy lifting involved in studying it enough to know myself. I mean really, who has the time to deeply examine the topics of tithing, relationships, forgiveness, and serving the poor/widows? When am I going to fit that in between my work, my hobbies, my kid’s sports, and the latest episode of “The Office”?
And something like the End Times? I’ll wait until Hollywood comes out with a movie on it. I’m sure they’ll have a team of experts and researchers that will get it correct and to the point, and they’ll likely have Kirk Cameron in it so it will have to be theologically correct, right?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be this way. Sure, I’ve tried conventional remedies. Short term bible studies. Online help articles written by noted Christian authors. Books with “Christian”, “holy”, “spiritual”, “journey”, and “leadership” in the titles. Webcasts, radio sermons, bracelets, and the list goes on and on. But here’s the reality.
I’m a worldaholic.
Wow. That was tough, but a bit of a release.
“My name is Joel Bennett, and I am a worldaholic.”
And I always will be. They say once your addiction starts it never truly goes away. It’s always lurking off in a corner, ready to pounce… if you let it. Once you feel like you are in control of it you begin to let your guard down. You start listening to more talk radio. You pick up a couple of TV programs you haven’t seen in a while (I mean really, how bad can “Survivor” be for me?). You read a newspaper or two and catch that Dateline special on the story-du jour. And then you realize you haven’t seen your bible in a couple of weeks, and you are not sure whether you get more excited for Sunday’s sermon or the last episode of “Lost”. And when you finally find yourself taking your lunch to read the Oprah book-of-the-month, you know the monkey is firmly planted back on your, well, back.
So today I am asking you to help me. I need you to keep pointing me away from the world and back to the Word. I need you to remind me that Jesus is the question, the answer, and the reason for everything I do. That God is not a word that directly precedes a phrase they no longer bleep out on television, but the only being’s opinion I should value (and fear).
I need you to remind me that the words and beliefs I carry around with me not only affect me, but my wife, my kids, and the generations of descendants to come. That the actions, or more specifically, the sins of this father could ultimately lead to the ruin of my family.
Will you do that for me? Will you pledge your support?
I’m sorry? What? You’ve got something to get off your chest as well? I didn’t see that coming…
I tell you what. Let’s say it together.
“Hello. My name is __________, and I am a recovering worldaholic.”
But together, with my Christian brothers and sisters, we’re going to fight the good fight and beat this thing together. It won’t be easy, and we’ll do it until the day we die, but it is worth it.
What do you say? You in?
This post was originally written June 4, 2010, but more recently published here to consolidate my writing. Enjoy!