John Piper’s recent work “Money, Sex, and Power: Living in the Light” was an eye opener to me. It shows how money, sex and, power are connected. Self-exaltation and wanting to be the center is at the root of these three dangerous opportunities. We exchange the glory of God for created images (especially the self in the mirror). What I saw when reading this book is that it’s about becoming poor in spirit and humbly depending on and exalting God who should be at the center of our universe. With God at the center, money, sex, and power are diployed into their proper orbits around the blazing center. When the glory of God is exchanged for created images God hands us over to our corrupt desires.
So, how much money, sex, or power does Piper think reasonable?
(I have not read the book)
For anyone interested, you can see the Amazon user reviews and ratings at Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
Perhaps we need a song - to promote the book here? But first, a plug. Go see the movie Infinity Wars and watch Fear the Walking Dead, on AMC TV tonight.
“When the glory of God is exchanged for created images God hands us over to our corrupt desires.”
I definitely do not agree with this. God, if he exists, leaves natural consequences in place. The law of reciprocity is in full affect, whether Christian or not. There isn’t an amount of sinning one can do where God says “Ok, now I am going to let the law of reciprocity do it’s work”. and the simple reason is; because the law is always in effect, no matter who you are.
I think looking at money, sex and power as evil, as opposed to misguided is a evil-thinking paradigm. We want to vilify people like drug addicts, because they are clearly idolaters. Amen, right? Amen! Those people are reprobate sinners who hate God! I say no, they are people who are hurt, struggling and know of no other way to meet their needs. To them, drugs are a necessity. They are a way to cope with life. When we coddle them, take it away from them without their consent, we never let them come to a knowledge of the truth in the matter. We can educate, but then must let the law of reciprocity come to full affect, that they may learn and mature.
I picked on drug addicts, because I see precious people behind the addiction, not some rotten human who wants to hurt others and be evil. I just so badly reject that mindset that I am compelled, almost at all times, to defend them from the holier than thou’s. You know, the Pharisee that says “I thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there, or even that tax gatherer”.
I think if people were more honest with themselves, or a least had their thoughts and life opened up so others could see, we would see a lot dysfunction in people who think they are “mature” or “sober”. In other words, I think a lot of people are walking hypocrites who are not introspective in their own lives and it tends to be greater among religious folk.
Great post Gabe. The only thing I’d disagree with is sex being misguided. I’m so sick of hearing Christians criticize “pleasure” (usually with sex in mind) from atop their high horses. They look at it like a badge of honor that they deny themselves happiness. The irony is that they’re full of pride.
The church fathers viewed even sex within marriage as a dirty thing. Thank God the church has (for the most part) jettisoned THAT puritanical otherwordly nonsense.
Augustine was delivered from sex by God’s grace. Buddha lost his sex drive at a young age after achieving nirvana. Like Augustine I find more happiness in God’s glory than lust. Like St. Paul I have chosen to be single. But Paul like Piper thinks that if you can’t control yourself then get married. I haven’t had any kind of sex in years (I’m single) and I’m happy. My greatest pleasure is in the glory of God. But not only has it been my experience that exchanging the glory of God for created images leads to out of control desire but it comes from Paul who was single and happy without sex.
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
Again, John Piper doesn’t say marriage is evil but if you are not married you are not to have sex. I can tell you from experience that the desire for sex, money, and, power isn’t strong for me.
As long as you are glorifying God and doing things to help the disabled and needy these things are good. It’s when we try to exalt ourselves that they become corrupt. Self-exaltation is pride and ego and as C.S. Lewis states, pride is the root of all other vices.
I’ve also attend N.A. and A.A. and see that them trying to reduce addictions to a disease and not a moral failure or sin. Well, again, I’ve been sober for years and hold to the Bible’s definition of sin as sin. A.A. calls it character defects. The point though is that I’m capable of evil and know this. But admitting my vileness is the reality of the matter. It doesn’t make me unhappy to do so either. And like I’ve already stated, I’m no longer doing drugs. My drug of choice was:
Love of God above all
hope in God
fear of God (consequences of evil)
Gratitude towards God
Faith in God
Is the heart that glorifies God. The praise and glory go to God.
Is that you Cole?
I don’t disagree with you, I think. I don’t think sex is misguided so much as certain ideas about it are. Just like I don’t think drugs are inherently bad. Most of the world are drug addicts, they just don’t acknowledge it. They take caffeine in large doses. IBU Profen by the dozens per day and many other drugs that are not deemed taboo. People, in my mind, are like sheep who think nothing of it because they are not on the naughty list. I don’t buy it, I just don’t. We all people seeking happiness and chose many different methods to get it. Some are arguably harmful to us, and should we discover it, truly discover it, we will stop such behavior.
I think the best analogy I ever heard was telling someone that “X is bad for you, so you must stop” is akin to someone give you a complex math equation and telling you the answer to it without giving you the equation and letting you work through it on your own to come up with the same conclusion. I mean, isn’t that true? If you can’t demonstrate to someone and convince them “why” something is wrong, you will have a very hard time getting anyone to adopt your viewpoint. That is why religion effectively screws up with sex. Why is it wrong “Cuz God says so” Well, is there a reason there? Work through the reasons, if there are not good reasons for certain sex practices being bad, then they probably are not, or at the very least, you won’t convince anyone they are.