Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stories of this and that...

Sad Follow-Up to a Good Deed
The feel good story of last week was about the NYPD officer who generously purchased shoes and socks for this homeless man on the street during a cold night.  The picture here, snapped by a tourist, went viral and the officer became a hero.

Many commented on the story, saying it restored their faith in humanity, and wishing that everyone would just be as kind as this officer.

Happy ending, right?

No.  for here is the follow up story: Homeless man grateful for boots, but barefoot again.

What happened?  If you read the story you will discover that the homeless man is hiding his "valuable shoes" to protect against theft.  Further, he wants a share of any profit from this picture (there wasn't any), and he has abandoned a family who would care for him if he would stay with them.

We would love to believe that homeless people need only a helping hand or a gift to make things better.  But the multiple levels of brokenness due to sin and the Fall lead to some people making continually bad decisions and sinful choices.

I have nothing but praise for the officer's intent and actions.  But I also think there is an important reminder that, in a fallen world, simple solutions often fall short of real change--especially when those solutions can only deal with symptoms, and not the heart.

Ravi Zacharias on the Problem of Pleasure
I listened to Ravi's podcast on the dangers of pleasure, and found it very instructive.  One quote stuck with me.  "The price of all pleasure is pain.  For a true [legitimate] pleasure, the price is paid beforehand.  For a false pleasure, the price is paid afterward."

How true!  True pleasures come as we discipline ourselves, walk in obedience, and then experience reward. Illegitimate pleasures promise so much, but are followed by the various prices of guilt, sorrow, and disappointment.

Whatever happened to Rob Bell?
I was asked this question by someone recently (I don't remember who), and it came up again in a discussion in the office.  So, when I saw this, I thought I could answer the question.  It seems that Bell's book, Love Wins, not only caused Bell to fall under great criticism for what seems a rejection of orthodox teaching on the doctrine of eternal punishment, but cost Mars Hill Bible Church about 3,000 members.  Bell left the church and moved to southern California, where he hopes to launch a "faith-inflected" talk show.  The church is now pastored by Kent Dobson, son of Grand Rapids pastor Ed Dobson.

The article recounting all of this is here.