Sunday, December 28, 2008

Intro and Calvin on economic gloom and joy

July 10 is John Calvin's 500th birthday (ie. he was born 7/10/1509)

Many people don't like Calvin- but they have never read this man they don't like. Yet, the western world, and really the whole world was deeply effected by Calvin's ideas. He was a great thinker for his time. My hopes are to put some of his writings out there.

The good thing about blogs- is they are much freer- cost and restrictions. I don't want to go through the trouble of footnotes, turabian, etc. This is NOT an academic blog- just some devotional writings using scripture and Calvin as a jumping off point.
Princeton Seminary :// and Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals are doing fine blogs of reading through the Institutes in a year. The Institutes are great academic reading, but Calvin had a lot to say about living the Christian life too. I am a pastor, and my concern is to have folks apply scripture to everyday life. This was Calvin's goal as well. I also recognize the irony of Calvin. He would not want any attention given to him-good or bad.This is evident because his grave is unmarked. He would want the attention to go to God.
Yet it is just this that makes Calvin so likeable.
"No one of those who preceded him," says Florimond de Raemond, "excelled him in writing well; and few since have approached him in beauty and felicity of language."

The real blog begins January 1st. Til then... a quote for our economic gloom and doomers:
"To crave wealth and honor, to demand power, to pile up riches, to gather all those vanities which seem to make for pomp and empty display, that is our furious passion and our unbounded desire. On the other hand, we fear and abhor poverty, obscurity and humility and we seek to avoid them by all possible means. How restless people they tire themselves out in their efforts to obtain the objects of their ambition and avarice, and then again to avoid poverty and humility. If godfearing people do not want to be caught in such snares they must pursue another course: they should not hope or desire, or even think of prosperity without God's blessing. We may believe that everything depends upon divine blessing alone...on the other hand, his blessing will find a way to make us happy and prosperous, whatever adversities may come." Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life 1550 VIII.
Panic over a recession and an economic downturn is rampant. It drives the price of oil to an all time high and then a ten year low three months later. It makes the price of gold and silver explode. The prosperity gospel (the idea that believers automatically prosper) is seen for its shallowness.
Habakkuk said (3:17,18), "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in God my Savior- the Sovereign Lord is my strength." Christian joy and blessing is not found in the things of this world alone. We have a joy- as Calvin pointed out- that no one can take away!

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