Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inclined to Action

“We Americans are pragmatists to the max. We want results. And we want them yesterday. We want them without too much pondering and too much pain….We have developed all kinds of Christ-coated remedies that are shallow and short-lived. We are not, by and large, the deeply grounded saints that some of our forefathers were.” John Piper

The original note that I wrote on this quote had me disagreeing with John Piper’s remark that Americans are pragmatists to the max. Now that I understand what it means I’m afraid I do agree with him. We are so stuck at trying to be practical that we have ridden the pendulum to the other side to where we are too practical for our own good. When that happens it appears, to the ignorant like myself, that we are anything but practical and down-to-earth. Many people think that having faith in God and believing in Jesus just isn’t all that practical. However, that’s where faith plays it part.

After writing on this quote on the news I heard two anchormen say, “That’s not very pragmatist.” As I heard it I shouted out to my husband, “Hey honey there’s that word I had never heard of before.” According to Webster pragmatist is “a practical approach to problems and affairs. It’s trying to strike a balance between principles and pragmatism. This started out an American movement in philosophy founded by C.S. Peirce and William James that was marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings. That the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief.”

Practical or too practical remains to be seen but what we definitely show ourselves to be are people who want results and we want them yesterday. We have come a long ways in the wrong direction as we believe that everything should be handed to us on a silver platter with very little pondering and pain on our part. We appear to be more prone to be lazy and people of assumption than people of true action.

We have moved away from where our forefathers were in the fact that we are not, by and large, the deeply grounded saints a great deal of them were. We find it easier to develop those Christ-coated remedies that are shallow and short-lived. We think being “good” is good enough. We don’t need to go any deeper than that. We believe just sitting in a local church pew once a week will make us a Christian with no further efforts on our part.

Too often we choose the sand to build our house upon that shifts with every passing storm instead of the solid rock of Jesus. Not a very practical thing to do but oddly enough we find that more practical than building our lives upon the rock of Jesus. This extreme has left us hanging in a place we shouldn’t be. Christ needs to be a permanent fixture within our heart not something we wear on the outside like a jacket. A coat we keep around to put on when the weather gets bad.

We fail to take our knowledge of God and turn it into a relationship. When that happens we handicap ourselves to shallow waters instead of the deeply grounded Saint we all have the opportunity to be. How deeply grounded we are in Christ is a choice we all need to make. It requires trust, faith, commitment and obedience on our part. It’s something that is well worth the effort and time to develop.

One of the definitions Webster gives for practical is, “one who is inclined to action as opposed to speculation.” There we have it. This is where we need to be as Christians. People who, as they walk with Jesus, are inclined to action as opposed to speculation! Amen? AMEN!!!!

© 2009 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing


MiPa said...

"People who, as they walk with Jesus, are inclined to action as opposed to speculation! Amen?"

Amen. Nice post.

Debbie said...

Karen, I too looked up pragmatists in the dictionary. I found this quote challenging and yet I am so glad Esthermay chose it. I loved what she wrote on her blog. I hadn't realized all of that.

It's always interesting to me to read how each of us looks at our weekly quotes. And I always find yours are so good too.


Esthermay said...

You are so right that we have handicapped ourselves – I believe it has been a slow progression that has gone right along with advances in everything human – technology, wisdom, science, medicine – the whole bit. We exalt ourselves and need less and less of God. Our forefathers lacked the human advancement and therefore they also lacked the “exalt thyself” mentality – and therefore found no other technique for survival BUT to be grounded in their faith in Almighty God. I also strongly believe that pragmatism is alive and well and masquerading as Christian theology in many churches. It’s not always an easy thing to spot.

I LOVE your analogy of a coat we wear outside – it’s so silly, but sadly so true for so many! Christ is not a come-and-go opportunity. He IS the Way, the TRUTH and the LIFE! (Jn 14:6)

I always enjoy Tuesdays and seeing the depth with which we all internalize the quote and make it our own. You always provide such a good lesson. You are most definitely a teacher.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your viewpoints . . . and more things to ponder!