Phil Vischer: Does Trump Show Us What We Really Love?

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Robert Cunningham pastor Tates Creek
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Presbyterian Church when we began to see
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the surprising rise of Donald Trump
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leading evangelical voice Russell Moore
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wrote an op-ed in the New York Times
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challenging evangelical Volkers voters
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to rethink their support of a man so
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antithetical to the Christian faith that
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to vote for him would be to quote
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repudiate everything they believed well
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six months later it appears evangelical
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voters have repudiated everything they
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believe but what if and he has an
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interesting angle on this what if
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evangelicals or any tribe for that
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matter aren’t primarily compelled by
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what they believe but instead by what
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they love
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in fact what if every one of us will
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gladly repudiate what we believe before
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we would ever repudiate what we love and
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when can you unpack them what if Donald
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Trump though contradictory to
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evangelical beliefs is the embodiment of
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current evangelical loves Wow so are you
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with me yeah I’m with you now there’s a
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book about this James ka Smith’s book
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there it is
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desiring the kingdom he actually has a
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newer one out called you are what is I
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think the kingdom part – no it’s new
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everyone is I think it may be it’s not
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released yet called you are what you
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love okay well not all of us have access
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to unreleased books Kai not all of it
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but you all have access to Amazon oh
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it’s it’s on Amazon you can read the
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book no but you can see the book why do
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you know what it says because I know his
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message oh okay that’s fine so James ka
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Smith says uses love to describe those
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deeper longings and desires of the human
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heart contrary to Western enlightenment
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that views us as Minds compelled by our
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thoughts the Bible views us as lovers
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compelled by our love sighs mm-hmm I
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just read that actually yes you did my
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quiet time today Smith argues that loves
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are formed by our habits of course we
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know this is true with our personal
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habits but what we often don’t see is
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the formative power of corporate habits
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what Smith refers to as cultural
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liturgies
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you know that term yeah cultural
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liturgies you look confused I don’t
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think just pond I’m pondering what that
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actually means liturgy what’s that I
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know it of liturgy liturgy is literally
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the work of the people Oh a literal
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liturgy literal liturgy so the work of
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the people so what we do together the
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practices the customs the the rituals
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that we engage in together actually form
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our desires right so you take this out
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of a religious context entirely when
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when the entire culture practices
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Christmas and the shopping and all that
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it trains children to be consumeristic
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right just because the whole culture
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does it and they get caught up in it and
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they don’t even think to question it or
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the whole culture takes a pause to do
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brackets in March for March Madness and
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it trains you to love college basketball
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right but only one month a year right
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when things turn green it’s time to love
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college basketball right yeah so for
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example is it a coincidence the vast
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majority of Americans are bent toward
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greed and overconsumption of course not
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our culture has trained us to be
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ravenous consumers now considered so
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says sky over and over again now
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consider Donald Trump in one sense he
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makes no sense from a care policy
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standpoint evangelical support for
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Donald Trump is utterly mystifying but I
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think we aren’t giving the convictions
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of evangelicals enough credit they know
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enough to know what Trump is saying and
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doing is wrong and yet they’re still
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supporting him why because we are never
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compelled by our ideals like we are by
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our loves and when you look at Donald
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Trump through the shared the shared
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loves of the evangelical culture he
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starts to make perfect sense what are
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the shared loves of the evangelical the
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best part of this what happens when the
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liturgies of our greedy culture train
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evangelicals to love money and power
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what happens when the liturgies of talk
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radio train evangelicals to love anger
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and paranoia what happens when the
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liturgies of social media train
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evangelicals to love sensational sound
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bites more
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thoughtful discourse what happens when
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the liturgies of modern worship modern
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worship services train evangelicals to
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love novel flashy and glib emotional
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experiences that feel more like a rally
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than corporate worship what happens when
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the conference culture of the church
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trains evangelicals to love the big
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celebrity leader what happens when
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preaching that prioritizes relevant
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shocking and brash sermons trains
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evangelicals to love tell it like it is
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ranting I know what happens what happens
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when the liturgies from the days of the
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moral majority train evangelicals to
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love America as much as Jesus I like
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Robert Cunningham I know what happens I
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know where this is going then leads to
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an incessant longing within churches to
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quote make America great again what
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happens we get Donald Tran Jellicle
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‘he’s in love with Donald Trump happens
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Russell Moore closes his op-ed piece
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with the plea to evangelicals we ought
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to listen to get past the boisterous
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confidence in the television lights in
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the waving arms and hear just whose
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speech were applauding but what if the
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boisterous confidence and the television
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lights and the waving arms are precisely
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what evangelicals have been trained to
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love what if they can’t listen because
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they are enraptured what if they
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applauded not because Trump has given
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them a speech but because Trump has
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given them what they love well that
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absolutely correlates with a study that
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just came out huh
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because they took a bunch of people that
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were watching the last Republican
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debates and they hooked them up with EKG
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monitors brain monitors and whenever he
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came on the screen whether they liked
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him or didn’t like he’s elevated like
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crazy their brains went nuts
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even though even the ones that said they
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just hated him or they weren’t
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interested in him at all so he’s a
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stimulating he’s controversial figure
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yes he’s Katniss well I mean yeah even a
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four-year-old just looking at a picture
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of Donald Trump is going to have their
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brain stimulated because they’re gonna
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ask what animal is on his head
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mother mother
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and then when he starts talking and the
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way he does his hand I hate them oh it
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just makes me how did he do that with
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his finger no I was trying to his hand
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it’s like this he’s always he’s like
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Spider Man about to throw a web but like
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we’re getting off and he’s like this
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like and he keeps saying the same things
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over and over again that has no
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substance because it makes people
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applaud he is so right on I’m with him
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that I thought that his his paragraph
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about the liturgy so well senator mm-hmm
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was can you send me that link profound
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26:57
email this too right yes bill can okay
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27:07
up for my Twitter I don’t tweet very
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often because I’m not a bird what okay
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so we’re thoughtful Christians we’re
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thought I would just like to think we
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are how do you go against our our own
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cultural liturgies I’d say we all make a
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podcast and everybody goes out there
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well he references James ka Smith also
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known as Jamie Smith in his book
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desiring the kingdom and all I said and
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and really people should read his stuff
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because it we have had this assumption
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in the church that if you teach people
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to think the right thoughts that they
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will act the right way and not only
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Smith but Dallas Willard and numerous
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other people in the spiritual formation
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kind of realm of of writing have
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debunked that over and over and over
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again and just having the right Lee I’m
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sure if you give a bunch of Christians a
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little exam on basic theology they
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probably be able to answer the correct
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way but that doesn’t impact the way they
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actually live this is what I was trying
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to get at in the divine commodity my
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first book about consumerism I didn’t
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use the language of heart or desire
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things like I did
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but I used the language of imagination
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what is it that shapes the way you think
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and your desires that happens on a far
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deeper level and most of our churches
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have completely abandoned yeah
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that level of engagement right so not
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until everybody gets disenchanted with
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their faith about you know it’s not
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really making a difference in their life
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that they stop and examine okay wait a
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second
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this this thing that I’ve bought into
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intellectually or any other way is not
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satisfying my soul and so then they
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start looking for something to satisfy
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their soul well the easiest way to look
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at that is to just look how you actually
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spend your time yeah you know yeah what
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do what do I try to do when what do I
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try to find time for you know and I have
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to do that myself it’s like wow I’m
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spending a lot of time watching The
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Voice I’ll give you an example though
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for the last two weeks I started this
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new diet right I haven’t had any sugar
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in two weeks no wonder you’re crabby
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under but what’s interesting is like I
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don’t crave like that on my couch
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but you were crashed out I was but
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here’s the thing you know it takes a
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while you essentially have to detox off
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this stuff right and then you don’t have
29:38
those swings of blood sugar anymore and
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you even but in order for me to not just
29:42
lose the weight but get off of the sugar
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I had to just stop eating sugar and
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that’s a sacrifice at first it’s crazy
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and it’s shame that ends up changing
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what you want and desire as you get rid
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of the sugar you desire and want to eat
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other help with alcohol right you know
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liquefied grain sugar anyway the point
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being what we’ve abandoned in the
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American church is this idea that if you
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really want to change what you desire
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you actually have to sacrifice first you
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have to take up your cross and deny
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yourself what our churches have
30:10
generally said in order to appeal to
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more and more consumers the Americans is
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you don’t have to give up anything
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you’re gonna be entertained you’re gonna
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be comfortable I like we’re gonna have
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right that message right but then you
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don’t end up transforming desires all
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you end up doing is reinforcing them I
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will say to in my own experience I
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didn’t say this and
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January when we were talking about new
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things that we were gonna do this year
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because I didn’t want to speak it out
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yet because I didn’t want to fail but I
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started you know to read through the
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Bible at a friend Sarah that challenged
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me to read through and I haven’t missed
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and I’ve read all the way through we’re
30:43
almost at April and it truly has been
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transformational and very much so
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because I’ve start every morning and I
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and two things have happened one it’s
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generally it’s genuinely caused me to
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have an experience with the Lord every
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day so there have been a couple of days
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where I’ve missed and I felt this
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longing for that intimacy number one
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number two is I’ve truly read through
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the Old Testament and and and I’m
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learning things that I didn’t know or
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seeing things that I didn’t understand
31:16
asking questions that I hadn’t asked I’m
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learning to understand and know God more
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deeply no I’m just using the Bible it’s
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just the text Hebrew I wish but but I’m
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saying it does begin to change you from
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that heart level when you have that
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experience any change in what you desire
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absolutely hugely and also in my faith
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to just trust like like I said I I had a
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lot of hard stuff happen over the last
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two weeks and my first reaction has not
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been despair it’s truly been I’ve
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watched how God has aren’t you just an
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optimistic person and you never ever
31:56
despair about anything ever in your
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whole life that is not true okay but I
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am genuinely generally an optimist but I
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didn’t think that no it’s not true but
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but the point is I truly have seen how
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God has carried these Israelites despite
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how they behaved and it’s given me hope
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to know I can chill out he’s got this so
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what have you had to change or give up
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in order to fit reading the Bible into
32:20
your day every morning or well I started
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trying to get up a lot earlier there you
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go there’s a sacrifice there’s a change
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of habit and sometimes I do that and
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that’s what I try to do most of all
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however if it doesn’t happen if I sleep
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in or whatever I sacrifice time at work
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and I say I’m not going to do this thing
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that’s the top of my to-do list until I
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sit down and spend this time because I
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realize I’ll be empty what my soul is
32:43
really longing for is that communion and
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so now it’s happened long enough like
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enough days in a row where I can’t go if
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I just can’t go without it
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it’s really changed what what what I
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think we’re uncovering is what the
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advertising industry is known for a long
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long time
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what’s that which is people do not
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change their behaviors because of an
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argument you change your behaviors
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because they’ve targeted your affections
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they’ve changed your imagination or what
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you think about and you have to be
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asking the question what is shaping my
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affections what is shaping my desires
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what am i watching when am i reading
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what am i consuming Facebook social
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media I would like to think that I am
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smart enough to resist the impact of
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what I am consuming I would like to
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think that – I don’t think that’s true
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over time yeah you can engage things in
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certain doses and go oh I can
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intellectually pick that apart and not
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have it affect me but if you really
33:39
saturate yourself and some things right
33:41
I think the opposite has to be true you
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you have to be engaged in that kind of
33:47
communion with God I think because I
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think having that deep love lets you
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realize that this other stuff isn’t is
33:55
not satisfying at all and so I can get
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caught up from time to time in watching
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CNN or what’s going on but truthfully I
34:04
can turn it off and lead like nothing I
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don’t know when the last time was I was
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really on Facebook
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seriously I hadn’t realized that until
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recently but it’s like I’m not really
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always I think Facebook was doing for
34:15
you before making me feel connected okay
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like I think there was this need of
34:20
talking to others them knowing me me
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knowing them wanting to be involved now
34:25
you know I just don’t seem to have that
34:28
need anymore
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as much no longer need people I don’t I
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don’t know I just I’m telling you what
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I’m the change I’ve noticed and the
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biggest change is that I really am
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desiring that time that intimacy and I
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think throughout my day like do you know
34:41
what I just learned yesterday I learned
34:43
in numbers when they were counting all
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the Israelites you know and Moses said
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here go counter you ready just the men
34:51
from 20 and up there were over two
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million two
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hundred-something if you think about it
34:56
you’ve got you’ve got all the wives they
34:58
had and the children they had and then
35:00
think about all the livestock that’s
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like 4 million or more and that’s got a
35:05
brain
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John Walton into this conversation cuz
35:07
he might burst your bubble a little bit
35:08
ok well just let me have this let me
35:10
have this moment but my point is there
35:14
were a lot of people can you imagine
35:16
getting Chicago together and running
35:18
around in tents and whatever I mean yeah
35:20
have you ever been to Chicago
35:24
you know what one of the worst
35:25
experiences of my life was going down to
35:26
the taste on the 4th of July down there
35:30
well just we hadn’t been married long
35:32
and she was pregnant and that was a
35:34
terrible idea yes it was yeah that’s
35:36
horrible really really terrible idea so
35:38
how what can we do collectively you know
35:42
in there’s individual but then there’s
35:44
like if you come together as your small
35:46
group as a church how do you even begin
35:49
to address what your affections are well
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I mean the first step is what we’ve
35:54
already been talking about is you need
35:55
church leaders who actually recognize
35:57
that their responsibility is not just to
35:59
form people’s intellectual beliefs but
36:01
to form their affection if they’re not
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even aware of that right you’re not
36:04
getting anywhere then secondly you have
36:05
to take a step back a particular from
36:07
your corporate gatherings and ask what
36:09
implicit values are we communicating in
36:12
the way we do things in our large
36:13
gatherings so I do this all time with
36:16
church leaders if if you were to just
36:19
sit in your worship space when it’s
36:20
empty and write down what you observe
36:23
about the space
36:24
what implicit values are you
36:27
communicating just in the physical space
36:29
in which you worship for example if
36:30
every seat is pointed toward the podium
36:32
and the pastor what does that
36:35
communicate if there are symbols absent
36:36
or not present present or not present or
36:39
not present what does that communicate
36:40
what do you do when you gather is it is
36:43
it all a happy slappy Christian
36:47
feel-good worship or do you actually
36:49
have times where you gather together for
36:50
lament do you gather together for
36:52
confession do you gather together for
36:54
other things other than just Rara right
36:56
not that that’s always bad but if every
36:59
time you gather it’s all the focus just
37:00
on the pastor and the only thing you do
37:02
is celebrate how great life is all the
37:04
time you are not forming people’s
37:06
affection remember when
37:07
had it wasn’t Michael Ganga the other
37:09
Ganga on the statement David go David
37:11
Geiger yeah we had David conquer the
37:13
younger Ganga I like the other younger
37:16
governor to show and he was talking
37:17
about worship music and just analyzing
37:19
it and and how the modern worship song
37:22
and the way it’s played is designed to
37:25
evoke a transcendent emotional
37:27
experience not necessarily for the right
37:30
reasons right and that he was trying to
37:32
write music that intentionally didn’t do
37:34
that that didn’t push the buttons that
37:37
were used to having pushed by a well
37:40
produced worship performance but then
37:43
you listen to that and you experience
37:44
that it’s like wow I didn’t feel I
37:46
didn’t it didn’t quite have the same
37:48
feeling but what he’s trying to do is we
37:50
knew aught of fishel response just based
37:53
on you know well this is the point where
37:55
the drums kick in extra loud and the
37:58
bass you know doubles and now you feel
38:00
Jesus you know he’s saying no let’s just
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you know if you ever been to a taizé
38:04
service just you know just quite to sing
38:06
quietly with no crescendos in the
38:09
singing you know for a half an hour
38:11
straight can be deeply moving but it’s
38:13
so foreign you know to the way most of
38:16
us are brought up or experienced church
38:18
okay so senior pastors need to be more I
38:23
think we need to reckon it first of all
38:26
usually you should really read James
38:27
Smith’s book okay Jamie Smith’s book and
38:29
understand these ideas more and how
38:31
we’re actually created to be shaped by
38:34
our affections rather than just our
38:35
intellect and then secondly you need to
38:38
do the work with other leaders in the
38:40
church of thinking through what
38:41
affections are we targeting and shaping
38:43
in the way we do our gatherings and
38:45
perhaps unintentionally reinforcing the
38:48
wrong things here’s an example back when
38:49
years and years probably 10 years ago
38:52
we were launching a congregation out in
38:54
Warrenville that I was more or less in
38:56
charge of really more or less and and we
38:59
we had a young we had a kid in the
39:01
congregation who had pretty significant
39:04
mental disabilities and severe
39:06
disabilities and and he would at times
39:08
burst out in the service with noises or
39:12
he just he couldn’t control himself and
39:14
it was not a big congregation and you
39:17
know when those things happen I realize
39:18
I have a
39:19
I have an opportunity here and how I’m
39:21
gonna respond especially if it’s in the
39:23
middle of my sermon or other people in
39:24
the congregation and there have been
39:26
stories of large churches where this has
39:27
happened with other handicapped people
39:30
and they assure them out because it’s
39:32
you’re disturbing people from focusing
39:34
on the pastor from focusing on the music
39:36
or whatever and we decided the way we’re
39:39
gonna respond is to acknowledge it and
39:40
recognize that this young man is as much
39:43
a part of the body of Christ as the rest
39:44
of us and this is a place in a community
39:46
in which everyone is welcome and we want
39:48
to actually utilize this as a formative
39:51
moment where we can put our personal
39:52
desires aside for maybe a really quiet
39:55
space and awakening us a desire for
39:59
inclusivity that we want everybody to be
40:01
welcomed into this space even those who
40:03
aren’t able to sit quietly the way right
40:06
we may prefer so it also speak to babies
40:09
right and quiet rooms and mega churches
40:11
to put the moms with noisy kids in yeah
40:14
and it isn’t that one there’s just two
40:16
different values competing there one
40:18
isn’t the value of my comfort and the
40:20
others of value of community inclusive
40:22
‘ti and a lot of churches in America
40:26
tend to take the dominant American
40:27
cultural values and give those the trump
40:30
card for lack of a better word right and
40:31
anything that’s going to push people
40:33
outside of that comfort zone well that
40:36
must be bad mm-hmm and that’s that’s how
40:39
you attract a lot of people that’s part
40:40
of the turn in the culture you know that
40:43
Willow Creek and the mega church
40:44
movement represented of okay people have
40:47
changed they don’t like the way we used
40:50
to do Church let’s pull them and see
40:53
what they would be comfortable with you
40:56
know let’s meet in the middle and what
40:57
there’s got to be a part of that that’s
40:59
a good thing right meeting yeah I mean
41:02
well I mean I think the value that would
41:03
probably be expressed by those folks as
41:06
that of hospitality we want to create a
41:08
husband and that’s a good value a safe
41:09
place for a dangerous message right
41:11
that’s what I heard over and over again
41:12
with the seeker sensitive moment going
41:13
to create a safe place for a dangerous
41:15
message although it’s tempting to never
41:17
quite get to the dangerous mess that’s
41:18
the temptation has they stopped coming
41:21
mm-hmm yeah all right and the thing is
41:25
if it’s only a dangerous message yet
41:27
engages our minds it’s not really the
41:29
gospel right it has to be a dangerous
41:31
community it has to be a community
41:32
that is gonna force us to come to terms
41:35
with our desires that may or may not
41:36
conform to Christ’s safe place for a
41:38
dangerous let bikers know but it’s the
41:42
sense that is this community really
41:44
gonna call me to take up my cross and
41:45
sacrifice myself or is it a place where
41:47
I can be as narcissistic and
41:48
self-centered as everyone else in
41:50
America but just have a sense of fire
41:51
insurance that I’m not gonna go to hell
41:53
for it right but I think you know
41:55
ultimately what it comes down to is that
41:57
we have to take individual
41:59
responsibility to to be changed people
42:03
to be the change we want to see in the
42:06
world
42:12
change does begin with us I’ve got a
42:15
good wrap-up song well I do think though
42:17
if you are a church leader you have the
42:19
added responsibility of shepherding
42:21
people and creating a community where
42:25
values are cultivated that train people
42:28
to love the things of God can you think
42:30
of a message you preached that was
42:32
intentionally designed to change or
42:37
raise this issue address affections yeah
42:40
but I don’t think it primarily happens
42:41
well through preaching oh great that’s
42:43
and that’s another problem is we have
42:45
this bias that the thirty minutes that
42:47
the pastor speaking is the formative
42:48
moment right it’s getting to the head it
42:51
is and there’s a place for that I’m not
42:53
saying it’s all bad but here’s the
42:54
problem you’ve all been sitting in
42:56
church for decades and I’m guessing and
42:58
look at us right you’re a mess no but
43:01
you I you could probably count three or
43:03
four sermons in your life that have
43:05
probably been deeply impactful yeah
43:07
right yeah and you probably can’t even
43:09
recall ninety-eight percent of it right
43:11
right you can probably if you get if you
43:14
say if you start humming the bars to
43:16
some songs popular that you could PI
43:17
start singing them right away yeah and
43:19
those songs are probably more formative
43:21
in your understanding of your faith and
43:22
diamonds should be sung is that what
43:24
you’re saying I’m saying sermons need to
43:25
be seen as one facet of a multi-faceted
43:28
gathering that trains one’s affections
43:30
and this is where I think more symbolic
43:32
and liturgical traditions have a better
43:35
understanding of human nature than those
43:37
that only emphasize the spoken word
43:39
because spoken word is one element but
43:41
we have visual components to us we have
43:44
bodily components movement
43:46
we have symbols we have practices that
43:49
the church calendar and other traditions
43:51
were engaging in a meaningful way in a
43:53
repetitious way that shapes what we want
43:55
and desire much more than just the
43:57
spoken word does in fact when you get
43:59
too attached to spoken words you end up
44:00
developing an affection for the person
44:02
speaking it more than the word itself
44:04
and that’s where you get the cult of
44:06
personality that he’s talking about in
44:07
our celebrity have angelical will so
44:10
which denomination gets it right
44:12
mine the Church of sky right no no they
44:17
all have their shortsightedness and
44:19
their problems but we I think in general
44:21
American culture has latched on to a
44:24
verbal celebrity-driven personality and
44:28
baudet form of Christianity that seems
44:30
to dominate right how can you be okay
44:32
with not doing the things that appear to
44:36
be creating success for the churches
44:38
well you got to read to find success
44:39
because that definition of success is
44:41
probably based on desires which you
44:42
inherited from the culture well then
44:43
that goes back to your point of if
44:45
pastors really start changing things up
44:47
like like you’re talking about all just
44:50
get smaller all of a sudden you know a
44:53
pastors may not have a job and be you
44:56
know churches are gonna start
44:57
disintegrating I mean you know there
44:59
could be some radical changes if that
45:01
really started happening or we changed
45:03
nothing and we get Donald Trump or we
45:05
change nothing and we get Donald Trump
45:07
but he’s popular and I’m sure after he
45:09
leaves the White House he’ll probably
45:10
have a mega ministry so your tongue is
45:13
not going to the White House how much
45:16
could he get for a speech after the
45:18
White House oh my word can we just not
45:20
talk about this anymore
45:22
just think about no mine okay well I
45:29
don’t mean to kick it in the rope but
45:32
there are some things we can learn from
45:34
Trump like taking a little bit of a
45:39
deflection to rethink what we’ve made
45:41
our
45:42
factions in the church and in our homes
45:45
I don’t mean to make you moan but we
45:49
might need to sacrifice more spend a
45:53
little less time watching TV on the
45:55
floor and look to Jesus as our affection
46:00
because that’s the one and true and holy
46:03
direction we should go you could play
46:09
that as a worship song on Sunday morning
46:11
and then I’ll get a nickel through CC Li
46:14
and happy Easter happy Easter everybody
46:16
let’s do an Easter special oh it’s too
46:19
late too late now next year mr. special
46:21
next year hi everybody
46:31
you

Church in America, Wake Up! | Jeremiah 6:16-19 | Gary Hamrick

On the eve of the 2020 Presidential Election, Pastor Gary delivers a sermon to challenge the church in America to “wake up!” Our nation is at a crossroads and our only hope is for Christians to stand for righteousness and vote our values! To be disengaged and apathetic will result in the advancement of a liberal, progressive, demonic-inspired agenda that is bent on the destruction of America. Christians need to wake up and realize that we are in a spiritual battle for the heart and soul of our nation and the heart and soul of the next generation. Stand up for righteousness! Stand up for truth! And let your voices be heard for the glory of God!