I have no patience with a blog post like this saying how dumb it is for those of us who are rich and have lots of fancy toys to not just wallow in enjoyment.
The problem is this:
I couldn't have said it better myself. Heck, there are times when I hear a story like that and I think, I guess I must not be on the good list with God because bye-bye [job, money, health, whatever]. I like the blog post the second link leads to because I agree with the author- poverty is complex. Our response... it can be tricky. Your insides war. I think the war is good. Life is hard. The end. Don't try to make it simple and easy because if you do, you're lying to yourself.
I don't want to accuse anyone because I'm sitting writing this on a laptop (not a much cheaper desk top), in an apartment that's bigger than my needs, in a chair I bought because I wanted it, with all manner of luxuries. Tomorrow I fully intend to go shopping and buy some clothes that I want, not that I need. I'm not great at this but I don't know if anyone is. What I do know is taking our blessings for granted is wrong and blithely snuggling down into our luxuries while we confidently assert that God gave them to us is insane. If God shows favoritism like that.... yikes. Why would the poor and bereft ever want to follow a God that just doesn't really like them as much?
It's odd to me that so often I find Christians who do not remotely acknowledge that our actions as humans are incredibly important. That our decisions matter very much, that we are the ones who are shaping this world. While I still believe sometimes God takes the reins and does something crazy, most of the time it seems pretty clear that the ball is in our court. We're responsible for the poor and orphans. That's an expectation. But so is living a joyful, abundant life. So while I think it's vitally important to contribute to clean water for the third world, sponsor kids, and send a flock of chickens to a needy family, I also don't think that God is mad at me for picking up a bottle of wine tonight to enjoy. It's a balance. It's a constant tension. I think it's good to keep it in mind.
I feel anxiety about a pastor with as much sway as Mark Driscoll making a grandiose statement like that. He leads a HUGE congregation and he essentially just chastised his followers for struggling with the fact that they are comfortable and wealthy while others are suffering and dying. Does not compute. They should struggle. He should struggle. Frustration.