"Be careful out there"
I loved watching "Hill Street Blues" years ago, the first gritty tv drama by Steven Bochko (sp?). I particularly liked how the show began, with station roll call and wise old Sgt. Phil basically outlining the show and what the force would face that day, concluding with his fatherly warning to the police-men and women, "Hey!" he'd yell "Be careful, it's dangerous out there!" or some variation on that phrase.
Ted Haggart's fall into the media assault makes me sad. Did he do what is claimed? I don't know, nor should I. From the little I heard from him, he was a moderate voice in a formerly strident organization. He was a sr. pastor of a 14,000 member church and he is younger than I am. Pressure? Stress? Temptations? Lonely? Isolated? Misunderstood? I'm sure all of the above and more. But the ripple effect is so devastating to so many who were part of his family, staff, and church community.
I'm preaching on Matthew 5:27-30 this Sunday and have been living with the greek word "epithumeo" : "desire", "lust", "covet", "want what is not yours to have" and I ache. It's dangerous out there, for everyone. There are so many different voices telling us what we deserve, are entitled to, really need, ought to have, should have, must have, blah, blah, blah. It's a dinning chorus that sounds uniquely in each of our ears. Our affluent culture allows us to pursue things our parents and grandparents never could have been tempted by. Our media assaults our senses with delightful images of food, clothing, and all sorts of "things of the flesh." And the sad thing I discovered in my reading and praying is the dynamic that the more I want what is not mine to have, the less I appreciate what God gives me to enjoy. The more I covet/lust, the more I am telling God that what he has provided me is really insufficient: formica counters just won't due...must be marble. The Jetta really needs to be replaced by an Audi. Shopping is so much better in Nordstroms than Target. A new tie would be much more dignified than my old one. And a little botx injected right here would take away those unsightly age-lines. Because who I am is just not good enough.
Careful out there!