Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker

S3 E13 | Privilege, Wealth, and the Christ-Shaped Life with Paul Miller

September 22, 2020 Paul E. Miller Season 3 Episode 13
S3 E13 | Privilege, Wealth, and the Christ-Shaped Life with Paul Miller
Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker
More Info
Reimagining the Good Life with Amy Julia Becker
S3 E13 | Privilege, Wealth, and the Christ-Shaped Life with Paul Miller
Sep 22, 2020 Season 3 Episode 13
Paul E. Miller

Send us a Text Message.

How does the pattern of Jesus’ life reshape privilege, wealth, and community? Paul Miller, author of “J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life,” talks with Amy Julia about the J-curve and how this daily dying and rising with Christ can create communities where the potential divisions of wealth and privilege are reshaped by love.

Paul Miller is Executive Director of seeJesus, a global discipleship mission, which he founded in 1999 to help Christians and non-Christians alike “see Jesus.” His books include “J-Curve” and the instant bestseller “A Praying Life.” Follow him on Twitter at @_paulemiller.

“The normal Christian life looks like the path of Jesus’ life—from life down into death and then from death up into resurrection and glorification. That pattern of Jesus’ life is the template for whole sections of my life, pieces of my day, my relationships, and it’s a very liberating grid. It has hope in it and gives meaning.”

“We don’t understand how critical our dying is to the creation of an inclusive community.”

“If I begin to live this J-curve, I become a community-creation machine. Everywhere I go I’m creating community.”

“The antidote to all of the problems of the power of money is love.”

“One of the aspects of evil is that it bends you to seeing that evil is the final word. And that leads to cynicism. You begin to see evil everywhere, and that in itself is evil because it leads to a cynical spirit where you begin to doubt even the good. That’s a disease of our age—an age of cynicism...Paul clearly looks at life through a resurrection lens and tells us to do so as well. What’s right and true and lovely? Be looking for those things. You’re hunting for the good.”

On the Podcast:

Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

White Picket Fence

Connect with me:

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

How does the pattern of Jesus’ life reshape privilege, wealth, and community? Paul Miller, author of “J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life,” talks with Amy Julia about the J-curve and how this daily dying and rising with Christ can create communities where the potential divisions of wealth and privilege are reshaped by love.

Paul Miller is Executive Director of seeJesus, a global discipleship mission, which he founded in 1999 to help Christians and non-Christians alike “see Jesus.” His books include “J-Curve” and the instant bestseller “A Praying Life.” Follow him on Twitter at @_paulemiller.

“The normal Christian life looks like the path of Jesus’ life—from life down into death and then from death up into resurrection and glorification. That pattern of Jesus’ life is the template for whole sections of my life, pieces of my day, my relationships, and it’s a very liberating grid. It has hope in it and gives meaning.”

“We don’t understand how critical our dying is to the creation of an inclusive community.”

“If I begin to live this J-curve, I become a community-creation machine. Everywhere I go I’m creating community.”

“The antidote to all of the problems of the power of money is love.”

“One of the aspects of evil is that it bends you to seeing that evil is the final word. And that leads to cynicism. You begin to see evil everywhere, and that in itself is evil because it leads to a cynical spirit where you begin to doubt even the good. That’s a disease of our age—an age of cynicism...Paul clearly looks at life through a resurrection lens and tells us to do so as well. What’s right and true and lovely? Be looking for those things. You’re hunting for the good.”

On the Podcast:

Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

White Picket Fence

Connect with me:

Thanks for listening!

Note: This transcript is generated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

0 (3s):

1 (3s):
Hi friends. I'm Amy Julia Becker And. This is love is stronger than fear. A podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of social division. In this season, we're talking about my book White Picket Fences and in today's episode, I get to talk with Paul Miller we're talking about Privilege were talking about the Christian life more broadly, and I want to tell you a little bit about Paul and a little bit about his most recent book. Before we dive into this conversation, Paul is probably the most well known for his book. A Praying Life, which is a book I highly recommend, but more recently, and he has written a book called the J curve Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life.

1 (42s):
I want to frame this conversation a bit and talk a little bit more than usual in this introductory time, because I recently read the J curve and I reached out to Paul because this book is really helpful to me. It helped me to think about what it means to follow Jesus in both his suffering and his glory, his Dying And His Rising. And to think about how I can respond with love, to the brokenness that I find in my own life and in our world, the reason I want to give a little forward or intro to what we talk about is that you might not be familiar with the idea of quote, unquote, dying and rising with Jesus, even for people who have grown up reading the Bible and going to church regularly.

1 (1m 29s):
And I don't assume that all of you who are listening have that background. These are not ideas that get talked about much. I don't think I've ever heard a sermon about Dying with Jesus or Sharing in the sufferings of Christ, but these are pretty central concepts. If we read the new Testament, one of the central concepts of Christianity is that Christians are people who follow Jesus is a way of life, not the morality of it, not the rules of it, but the pattern of it, the way of it, the way of Jesus is a way of love and love in the midst of a fallen world, always involves suffering.

1 (2m 10s):
So we're going to talk about suffering, and Paul often refers to that as Dying here, because there are little deaths involved. Every time we suffer. We're also going to talk about joy because just as we were invited to share in Christ's suffering to carry our crosses, to be crucified with Christ, it is uncomfortable. Even to say those words, I'm gonna note because they are so counter-cultural, but justice, we were invited to share on those sufferings, we were invited to share in Christ's joy to carry what he calls a light and easy yoke, and to be resurrected with him into a glorious new creation.

1 (2m 50s):
So I want to explain one aspect of the J Curve book before I really do let you here from Paul himself, which is just say he talks about are right about in the book three different types of J curves. And these are three different ways that our lives can follow Jesus's life, or the pattern of Jesus is life. So one is a Curve of suffering when forces outside of our own control press in on us. So that can be a cancer diagnosis or an unjust accusation.

1 (3m 22s):
In those moments we experienced suffering and this little mini depths, the second type of J Curve is a Curve of repentance, where we begin to recognize our own self centeredness that might come through recognizing jealousy or a greed, or the ways our actions and our choices harm. Other people, separate us from love, hinder us from experiencing God's love. We choose in the moment of repentance to turn back towards God and hear again, we experienced suffering.

1 (3m 52s):
We experienced a little death because we're dying to sin and we're waiting for God to do redemptive work in our lives. Finally, there's the J curve of Love and that's what we choose to love other people, which always involves some type of sacrifice of dying because we give up what we want in order to care for someone else. I actually had a chance to write also about the J curve and about these three types of the J curves in an essay this past week for breaking ground it's called is God.

1 (4m 23s):
And anti-racist will put that in the SHOW NOTES, but I also just wanna mention it because it talks a little bit more about what the J curve can look like in action and in the collective life of the church Paul's book, the J curve Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life focuses on this pattern of dying and rising with Christ and the ordinary individual everydayness of our lives. And for me, both reading this book and talking to Paul about it, offered a great opportunity to think about how I am invited to enter into the way of Love, which is a way of suffering.

1 (5m 2s):
And it is a way of repentance and it is a way of care and compassion and concern for others the way as I'm invited to enter into the way of Christ through Dying and Rising with him. Well, Paul, Miller welcome to the point. So I'm so glad to see you here on zoom and really glad to have you with us. It is good to be with you, Amy. Julia. Thank you. Alright, so I think this is the, this podcast episode that I've ever had to prepare for you for it, because I have two, many things that I want to talk to you about.

1 (5m 35s):
And the reason that is, is because I have been learning from you both in person and through your books and through your seminars and teaching materials for over 20 years now, I did the math and I'd like to share all of it, but we aren't going to be able to do that. And still, I do want to give listeners some taste of the work that you've done most recently, and this book that Jake are, but also just the scope of the material that you've offered over the course of the past 20 years. One of the things, when I was reading the J curve, I was just reminded of is how much research you do and have done over the years into the ancient world and how you're so able to make that so relevant and relatable to our world today.

1 (6m 17s):
I'd love so many aspects of your work, but that has just one of them. So I want to start by just asking you to take the J-curve. So the full title of the J curve Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life could you just explain what this book is about and what compelled you?

2 (6m 35s):
Wow. That's a, a simple question with a potentially long answer. Long answers are fine. Go for it. It, the, the, the book is about something that I think is missing or a weak within Christianity. And it is like, what does the normal Christian look like? Yeah. Is it a salvation plus either doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and And, you know what I mean?

2 (7m 7s):
What, what is the Christian life look like? And there's this idea that is in the end Paul but it's all through the new Testament. Yeah. Is that the normal Christian life looks like the path of Jesus line that goes on so that I called the J curve, just because it's a way to remember it. So it goes down like the J down into depth from life down into the death, and then from death up into a resurrection and glorification, and That pattern of Jesus life is, is like the template four whole sections of my life, pieces of my day, my relationships.

2 (7m 48s):
And it is, it's a very liberating grid because, well, first of all, it's got hope in it because at the end of the story is, is, is God doing these little resurrections? Yeah. And sometimes there are big resurrections And and it also gives me meaning I think those were probably the two biggest thing. So as soon as I'm in a really difficult spot, I I'm not, I wanna, like one of the hardest things about suffering has how confusing and disorienting that is, like, why is this happening to me is one of the first things people say.

2 (8m 21s):
So now I have a map for my Christian life. So it's not a book, the eye on suffering. It's really a book on what's the normal Christian life life.

1 (8m 33s):
Well, then a friend of mine said to me, this is a perfect book for a pandemic because we have all of these kind of many opportunities to feel as though we're experiencing death and look for resurrection. But there's also this bigger story that we hope and pray. We are a part of that may and does involve that sense of suffering and going down. But we can look for hope, look for meaning and look for a purpose. In the midst of that, I've been reading this book, I'm writing about it.

1 (9m 3s):
It's a memoir by Anthony Ray Hinton. He is a black man who was falsely accused and condemn to die for murder in Alabama. And he was on death row for 30 years. And he went in all of the book. The book is called The Sun Does Shine you would love it. I, so I haven't even finished it yet. And its been amazing to read alongside the Jaker because he's living it out. He is really resentful and mad at God when he gets in, he is suffered a tremendous injustice and the state has literally, I mean, it's documented the ways in which he has been wrongfully accused in the trial was a sham and all of these things.

1 (9m 51s):
But after a couple of years of literally not even speaking, unless it's because his mother has come to visit, he finally decides like I have to take my Bible out and like I got to start knowing Jesus again. And I got to start loving people here and I could go on and on and on about his story because it is So map's to your book. I mean, including befriending a member of the KKK who is there for having killed a young black man. So it's an amazing, powerful story.

1 (10m 21s):
And he does eventually get exonerated, but he still goes through 30 years of suffering injustice. And then there is, you know, there all of the, all of the J curves or in his life repentance, suffering and love. I think about your daughter, Ashley and the story you tell in the J curve in terms of, again, the suffering that has put upon her with cancer early a cancer diagnosis for a senseless, you know? And so when we're faced with that type of suffering, we often find, I think like in humid humans, you either get bitter or you decide to Love right?

1 (10m 59s):
Like you get kind of associated with Jesus even sometimes not by his name you've already mentioned is that over and over and over through Paul is writing, he talks about suffering with Christ suffering for Christ Sharing in Christ sufferings, this pattern of dying and rising, dying and rising at the same time. That's not what we are taught as to think of as the normal Christian life. That's not, I mean, those are passages that I memorized even when I was in high school and college and learning my Bible versus, and yet that sense of what it means to be crucified with Christ.

1 (11m 36s):
Like I understood my sin needed to be crucified with Christ. Like yeah. Great take care of that. That's fantastic. And then I'll take the resurrection part. Right. But what you're saying is no, no, no, no. Actually like as a Christian, you are going to experience Dying and Rising and the humiliation of That and the actual, both physical and emotional suffering that comes with that. Like you're going to feel it, it's going to be hard and you're also going to experience the Rising with him and the hope and the glory, but I'm curious.

1 (12m 6s):
Okay. So I guess they're kind of, I have like three questions here and I can, yeah, I can come back to them if we get lost. But so the first one is just like, why are we not taught this as frequently as we could be? And then the second one is what keeps us from living that out. And then the third one is why would we want

2 (12m 25s):
To live it out? Okay, good. Let me do the first one. The first one, actually it goes back to The in the early church and the medieval church, the J curve was the dominant story. Okay. And so, you know, a Francis of Assisi around early 12 hundreds is a great example of that. When there's this deep revival in his life, he wants to embody Jesus and he wants to participate in a fellowship of his, he wants his whole life to be in a fellowship that is suffering.

2 (13m 1s):
And there's a great biography by a Dominican called Francis of Assisi. That, that, that just does a great job of describing that. And that was, that was the early church passion. And it was the paradigm for love. And sometimes it got disconnected and it became suffering almost for me cause there's this strain, if you've seen Monte Python or the flashlights that really dates me, but you know, there, there was a tendency.

2 (13m 35s):
And, and so, and because there was no clear sense of justification by faith and the great, Luther's great rediscovery of justification by faith there because the J curve without justification by faith is oppressive. In other words, you know, unless you really

1 (13m 56s):
Well. And it's like suffering becomes my salvation as opposed to him,

2 (13m 60s):
That's what they did. So I was suffering for my salvation. And so there was this merging for a put another way when it came to salvation, a, the medieval church Learn, Learn merged love and faith. Yeah. And justification by faith separates them out. And you You, but there is this tendency. And if you see it in Luther to think that that love just naturally flows out and that the only thing you have to do is focus on your justification and that, that, and if you just focused on your justification, if you just focus on the fact that God loves you and a modern equivalent would be just focusing on your self image, then love will naturally flow.

2 (14m 49s):
And, and so there, there, and there is a fear that teaching the J curve would somehow in return me to the legalism of the medieval period. Right. And, you know, so that's why there is this almost a total vacuum a within the Protestant church on Dying with Christ other than fat that it feels a little scary. Right,

1 (15m 15s):
Right. Yeah. So that, so there's a vacuum in terms of our teaching and then there's a vacuum in terms of us. And I think, but I think some of this modern American consumer culture and therapeutic culture, which you also address in the book, like also prevents us from willingly following the way of Jesus when it comes to Dying and Rising.

2 (15m 38s):
Yeah. Andy and I, I do think some classic pro I think just every tribe at the church has certain strengths and certain weaknesses. And, you know, I love the strengths of our Protestant tradition, the love of the word that, you know, the love of J the clarity of justification by faith. But then some of the weaknesses of the missing Jay Curve has been a tendency within a Protestant cultures towards materialism and individualism and because an ad B because, and there's a weakness also on embodiment.

2 (16m 15s):
A and I mean, I'm hundreds of people are saying that. I mean, you talk about it. Amy Julia I mean, it is. And it, it leads to a tendency to use justification by faith to keep me from the pain of this world. Never quite sad. It that way, as opposed to Lang when you enter into this koinonia, this fellowship of the suffering you're embodying Jesus.

1 (16m 39s):
Yeah. As you know, I've written this book White Picket Fences. Yeah. And have been talking on this podcast over the past couple of months about that book and what was like to record with recognizing that I have unearned advantages as a member of our society. They've been given me by a society, not anything that I've worked hard for. It's up to say, I haven't worked hard in my life, but I didn't work hard to be White and I didn't work hard to have educated parents or affluent parents or whatever.

1 (17m 10s):
And yet also recognizing that it's not just that I got these advantages, but I also, as a result of being in that position was a part of being excluded from all sorts of other people, including people with disabilities, like my daughter, and certainly people of other races and ethnicities and socioeconomic groups in all of that. So there is harm done to others, but there also as harm done to me in that isolation and in that sense of inherited superiority or something that came with being white and wealthy and educated, right.

2 (17m 45s):
Let me just interrupt you really quickly. I mean, what you're describing is what James about that we kind of scratch our heads and we think about it when he talks about the poverty of the rich. Yeah. And, and we are rich, you know? And so we, we, we have to fight them and the Wealth of the poor, he had me go ahead.

1 (18m 6s):
No, exactly. And so, so I wanna, I wanna continue to be clear that when I'm talking about the problems of what I'm calling Privilege, I'm not just saying it's bad because some people are excluded from the material advantages that I have. I'm seeing actually even those, the material advantages are problematic in many ways, because of what they do to our souls. Right. So, but I also wanna talk about the way in which Jesus offers healing through love in both of those places. And I want to ask you about downward social mobility for the sake of Love, because I think that is in a lot of your book is about Jesus, and then Paul following this, but I'm choosing to not hold on to it.

2 (18m 50s):
Privilege to choose, right.

1 (18m 52s):
That's what we might call downward social mobility and doing all of that. Not to be a murder, not because he wanted to die, but because he wanted to love you. And that was the ultimate value for him. So I would love to hear about just you describing That pattern of Jesus not holding on not considering equality with God is something to be grasped, but being willing to take the form of a slave. Right. And then how we were invited to be like him in that. So, you know, kind of on this theme of downward social mobility, how did Jesus do that?

1 (19m 27s):

2 (19m 27s):
How might we follow him there? I just, there's something about the presence of Christ in people when it becomes so powerful. That just so moving to me, Jesus so much, but maybe even more helpful as to see Jesus, the stories of him lowering himself, the way he heals, like in John nine, when you heels the blind, man. Yeah. If you look at the text carefully, Jesus just has stopped and is not saying anything.

2 (19m 58s):
He is just looking at the blind man. Right. Because the first So he's initiated something by just looking right. And then the disciples then are drawn. The Jesus looking and saying, who send this man and his parents, you know, that just sort of go into

1 (20m 17s):
To he a problem. Whereas Jesus, he's a person.

2 (20m 20s):
Yes. And so Jesus has, and I think he's is doing multiple things. He is going to heal this guy, but he's also teaching them to just look at him. Yeah. And so he is, is physically slowed down and he is present with us. Right. You know? And it's it, that, that is, it's a lowering him. He's he he's, and he's teaching them to do the same thing. And they've treated him like the object he's treated and like a person, the rest of the chapter of that go into the story.

2 (20m 54s):
You said delightful guy. He was really funny. He had it

1 (20m 57s):
Because I know it's a, it's a quirky story. I mean, it does. I, I read that recently with a group and of people who hadn't read it before and it was wonderful. Cause they were all like, who is this guy? He must be a teenager. That's the way he's behaving.

2 (21m 13s):
Like he asked the Pharisees. So are you asking me so many times because you want to be his disciples, right. Mocking them is totally besides pudding or John for, with the a Samaritan woman. If you know where he is, he lowers it. In terms of that culture, he lowers himself into the world, the Samaritans and these, they really disliked one another. Yeah. I mean, Jesus it kinda the lot, the most recent big thing they had done was, and is not refunded 2000 years makes up a funny, they spread the Samaritan, snuck into the Jewish, into the temple in Jerusalem and spread human bones all over the temple on the Eve of Passover.

2 (22m 0s):
Wow. It was just me. Right. Just so that they can celebrate Passover because they are polluted the temple. I mean, it was just, yeah. That gives me

1 (22m 10s):
Context for the hatred between the two a day.

2 (22m 13s):
So, Oh my gosh. Yeah. You said terrible things about the, I don't even want to repeat or the, the, I mean they're really 2000 years later, I didn't wanna repeat it. Right. And so the juice, if you even touch the vessel of a Samaritan, you are a unclean and, and that's why she's shocked when Jesus says, would you give me a drink? Right. And he's also because of that culture, when he treats that a woman as an equal has lowering himself.

2 (22m 48s):
Right. So I'm, and it just all through the gospel story, after story, you can see Jesus using from his Privilege going into someone else's world and then essentially bringing them up

1 (23m 2s):
With him, not immediately necessarily, but there is that sense of I'm thinking about, and I'm not going to quote it correctly, but that sense, right?

2 (23m 10s):
Like his crown of glory, being that

1 (23m 14s):
Go back to heaven alone, you know, like that, there's this sense of,

2 (23m 17s):
Of wanting because of love and because of his desire for human beings to be healed, saved redeemed participants in the work that God is doing, that that is joyful it to him and life giving and glorious. So it's not as though he's, you know, selfishly motivated, but at the same time, there is this, this motivation that is not just about sacrifice, it's sacrifice for the sake

1 (23m 46s):
Of sacrifice. It's not going down for the sake of going down is going down for the sake of lifting up. It sacrifice for the sake of love and community and this expansive abundance richness of the kingdom of God. Right. And I think there's something so beautiful and compelling about that. I mean, that for me is why I say, okay, it's really hard for me still to entrust my work to God. I feel like that's something, if I'm smart, I will remember to do it every day because I grab it back at some point in every day, I'll entrust my family.

1 (24m 23s):
I'll try. Even if that is going to mean suffering and hardship because of this sense of, I want to be a part of that story of what God is doing in me in the world and in all of you.

2 (24m 38s):
Yes. Another way of putting that is that Jesus Dying makes us won, which is a quote from Romans 12. John says that it's one of his sort of parent that it will comments about. John is actually who is talking about what the high priest had just said, that it's better for one man then the whole nation. And then John sort of says that's to fulfill that Jesus died to make us One. So that was one of the weaknesses of our loss of this, ah, the J curve.

2 (25m 12s):
His, we don't understand that. So community is a really high value for people now, but we don't understand how critical my Dying and our Dying is to the creation of an inclusive community. And so my many deaths create one this. Yeah. And so if I begin to live this J curve, I'm like, Oh, I'm like, Oh, this community creation machine. So everywhere I've go M creating community, lowering myself in love.

2 (25m 42s):
And it's like, you got to John 14. Well, this is one of the, is really funny meals where Jesus insults all the guest's because they are trying to get the better place. And he doesn't with is terrible, by the way, the opposite of the J Curve. I called a failure boasting chart, or slide into the top and fear and failure at the bottom. So you're either on a J curve dying and rising or you're or you're ranking yourself. Yeah. So both of them are narratives, but then Jesus tells the Holmes after you told everybody there, there That, he actually says then doing a bad problem of ranking in themselves.

2 (26m 23s):
This is if you really wanna get a head, be quiet. Or, and then when the hosts

1 (26m 30s):
Is that you're at the bottom, then you,

2 (26m 32s):
We hire he'll call it, he'll change your ranking. And everyone we'll notice you, you know, this is a delightful little story. Then he tells him, and then he tells the hosts, basically you are, we invited all the wrong

1 (26m 44s):
People because everybody here is gonna pay you back, but I want you to go out next time.

2 (26m 52s):
Absolutely classic audacious Jesus. And he is inviting this guy into a life of Dying Love.

1 (27m 3s):
Absolutely. And I want to talk more about what you were just saying about like community is always created in those moments of going low. I was so struck. Okay. So A, I think for me that often has this kind of like, Oh, is it a beautiful to think about How community can be created? And I can think about in these very idealistic terms, but what you talked about was how much people smelled in the, in the non aristocratic, which is to say the majority world in the ancient world.

1 (27m 35s):
So this is a quote Jesus almost certainly smelled like just knowing his life and who he hung out with. And so I was just thinking about like any non aristocratic person would of been known in, in fact it will be a Mark of distinction to not smell. And they were being asked and becoming Christians to literally go with the people who smell bad all the time. So, first of all, that just really helped me to put an actual, to think about what it would be like to go from our sanitized world into a world that smells really bad and to think about how Jesus was doing that all the time.

1 (28m 14s):
But I'm also thinking about Today how so wealthy people had to be willing to get smelly in order to create a place that broke through social hierarchies and created the unity and beauty that Jesus was inviting them into. So how has that true today? What does that look like now? Not just the J curve and my individual Life, but in terms of that community creation.

2 (28m 37s):
Oh, golly. I mean, there's so many sides to that. Where would you begin? You know, you could apply it. Let me actually just whip through a bunch of things. Okay. And let me go a high speed and then you can pick out if you any particular one, okay. That you want it to one of my And let me first to go back 40 years, I spent 10 years working in the inner city in, in Philly in an urban context. We started a multiracial Christian school at this point is about seven or eight years ago.

2 (29m 9s):
I talk to some of My. I hadn't seen all of my former students for, for a while and they came to a seminar I was doing. And they're talking, we must've talked for, I dunno, how long afterwards, and there's this great to see them again. And just from some of their comments, I realized that I had missed something really obvious that, that what it meant for that, that, that there w I I'm actually not, I haven't figured out how to say it, but that there was a pain in the African American experience that I was unaware of.

2 (29m 51s):
And I mean, I love the, the parents and the kids that I worked with, I gave myself wholly to them. I was colorblind. Colorblind is, is, you know, has taken a ne a negative turn in it, you know, its with the conversation's going on. And I think it's accurate. It's not good enough to be colorblind. Right. You know, and what is

1 (30m 13s):
To see you distinctively, see it as a positive thing that you are a person with a culture and a heritage and a tradition. Right.

2 (30m 22s):
And I just can't say I never owned slaves and look, look at all the good things that I've done write, you know, an African American community is, is I wish I had been more aware you, you know, that, you know, go, there's a lot of things you wish you knew if you go back 40 years. So I just, you know, go golly, last December, I just started praying every day that God would give me a listening. Spirit particularly to African-American issues and we've had conversations internally and then this whole black lives matter and riots broke out.

2 (31m 1s):
So, and we had some internal Col because seeJesus is a pretty multicultural and think that those conversations have been a good for me. And, and that kind of my biggest take away has been just that, that there is a lament in the African American community that needs to be respected and honored. Right.

1 (31m 25s):
I want to connect this to a Wealth for a minute. And because I think that we have lots of divisions in American culture that fall on ethnic and racial lines, they tend to also, or sometimes correlate with Wealth. And then they're our divisions that are within the

2 (31m 43s):
Community is with an African American community is within white communities that also our division is based on Wealth.

1 (31m 50s):
And I have learned a lot from you in thinking about wealth and status and how those relate to each other. I went back and looked at I'm a seminar or are you used to teach? I think on money and the heart, which I still wish you wouldn't right

2 (32m 2s):
Into a book by the way, a book number. I don't know. I just it's on the list right now.

1 (32m 10s):
Right. Well, I'm glad to hear that, but in that you have this acronym easy and you say money elevates, accelerates, separates and isolates. Yes. Alright. So I'm gonna say it again for listeners who are just not able to see this on paper elevates, accelerates, separates, and isolates. And I have certainly, Mmm. And I wrote about this and White, Picket, Fences experienced ah, the heart

2 (32m 37s):
That Wealth can cause

1 (32m 40s):
In exactly those ways. So I'd love to ask you to just speak a little bit to how money does those things elevates, accelerate, separates, and isolates, and what people who have wealth can do if they don't wanna live in that place of isolator.

2 (32m 55s):
Let me ask you to begin with the answer and I'll back into cars. I can talk forever on the easy, like at the end of a first Timothy six, Paul some fascinating reflections on, on wealth and poverty. And it's interesting. His admonition to not love money is to the, to the poor who are seeking to be wealthy or the less, the less wealthy and his admonition then to the wealthy is, is centers are around what money does too.

2 (33m 26s):
Your heart is interesting. I our work. Our ministry is blessed by wealthy people. And you know, I I'm often working and friends among wealthy people. I don't know. I don't know many of them who love money. They're our struggle is much more on the power of wealth. I know a lot. And for people who are, who are consumed with money and they ended up not getting it like businessmen and really didn't do well, money is kinda the benchmark for how their doing in the chase.

2 (34m 3s):
They loved the venture, starting the business and that I can take it in an idea and making it work. They're really creative. They loved the chase and, and they're, they're thrilled to make money out of it. And again, you can have agreed can be anywhere, but it's more of the power that they get and the anecdote, and I'll talk about easy and a minute to an antidote, to all of the problems of the power of money is low.

2 (34m 34s):
And so a every time say a wealthy person then slows down in their life to listen to someone, who's bringing them a request they're lowering themselves and wealthy people. Some wealthy people dislike that because their, their time is by far the biggest commodity, but a listened to, to take a half an hour to listen to somebody and to value what their doing, you know, the, the very activity of giving lower as yourself. So any, any, they are just so many anecdote's to that, but all of them involved for the wealthy person slowing yourself down, right?

1 (35m 13s):
Yeah, because I mean, I think going back to what we were just talking about, If going low. Like Jesus, So going low and love leads to community than the way in which money elevates, accelerates in the isolates, right. Is going to result in the opposite of love. Unless you're very consciously saying, no, I'm going to use this. Wealth to bring people together. I'm going to use this. Wealth to allow myself to slow down, I'm going to use the right.

1 (35m 44s):
I'm going to use this in order to be with people, to stay close to people, to help people, not in a patronizing way, but in a mutual need and loving each other type of way. And all of those things I think are very possible and are modeled for us in scripture, but it's very different than how our world treats money. And then just our human instinct will, if we're not being conscious of it, that's just not, as you said, you add money to a system here's what's going to happen unless you're really consciously working against that.

1 (36m 18s):
So I'd been thinking about the relationship between comfort and suffering. Because one thing that I think I can do is confuse comfort with blessing. So I can thank God for all these things in my life that make me really comfortable. I live in a beautiful place. My kids are healthy. I'm not worried about whether we can afford our mortgage. And so I can say thank you to God for all those things. And that's a sincere, I am thankful for that, but at the same time, Scripture says over and over and over again, you're going to die with Christ.

1 (36m 50s):
You're going to experience suffering and I live a really comfortable life. And so I think that leads me to two questions. Like one, is it, am I supposed to always be suffering? Like, is it wrong to be living in a place of comfort, but also what's the difference between comfort and resurrection what's because if we're always kind of entering into the suffering of Christ and being raised with Christ, that's different than my like comfortable American existence being a sign of God. Right.

2 (37m 19s):
That's a blessing. Okay. Let me try to answer that Charlotte, for ways, one of them is comfort is good. You know, Romans, is it Romans? Well, where's the best addiction I get. My benedictions messed up. The, got it.

1 (37m 35s):
Well, forgive you for that. God. Of all comfort. Yeah.

2 (37m 38s):
Yeah. The God of all comforts is, is that Romans are Hebrews. I forget. Right,

1 (37m 43s):
Right. I'm going to go with Romans, but I don't know.

2 (37m 45s):
I know, whatever it just comfort as part of the, you know, we're made for, to be, you know, God made us for Eden, you know, first to when Paul is you, you know, and the second Corinthians one God Christ's sufferings flow over into law, our lives as comfort. Yeah. So we're, we're I like to think of that as these three buckets, you know, that Christ's sufferings the bucket tilts and his sufferings flow over into comfort. So in my bucket of suffering, I'm comforted by Christ's sufferings.

2 (38m 19s):
And that allows me and my sufferings to flow over into other peoples lives. So, and then when Paul is be up in a city, he doesn't go back and say, give it to me again. Right. I can take this. He flees. Yeah. So he, he comfort is good. So you can be guilt-free we are enjoying comfort. And I think one of the, one of the things that the J curve allows me to do is to enjoy resurrection.

2 (38m 52s):
Hmm. Well, I don't have to go around waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yeah. You know, as if it, God is, you know, the Larson cartoons with God the button that says Zach, and then this guy who is walking and there's this, you know, a piano on top of him. Right. That's sort of, I think we instinctively things

1 (39m 13s):
Is actually kinda back to what we were saying about not like not equating suffering as the way toward salvation. Right. I like that. Oh my gosh. I'm comfortable. Does that mean there's something wrong with me? You know,

2 (39m 26s):
As opposed to being able to be grateful in the midst of that, right? Yeah. So that you can enjoy it. You can, in fact, thankfulness is tuning in your heart into how God has blessed your life. You know what I mean? Because one of the assets, I know I'm getting off on things, but one of the, a token picks us up in the Lord of the Rings. What are the aspects of evil or is it bends you to seeing that evil is the final word? And then And that leads to cynicism.

2 (39m 57s):
So I saw him on looks into the crystal ball too long and begins to be zapped by that is captured by evil. And who's the guy who's M the last, the emperor. Anyway, you know who you are talking about it, but I don't remember this, but so that, there's this characteristic that evil You begin to see evil everywhere And. And that in itself is evil because it leads to a cynical Spirit where you were a, you begin to doubt the, even the good and your, and at that, that's almost like a disease now, a lot of our age, kind of an age of cynicism and, and, and it just kills at, and that's why it's really clear in Colossians three.

2 (40m 51s):
Cause we've been talking a lot about the dine and I, I know I'm getting off you're off on rabbit trails here, but so important that in Colossians three Paul clearly looks at life through a resurrection lens and tells is to, so what's right. And truly be looking for those things. And, and so you're hunting for the good, you know, so you you're just you're you're and it will end up making you a little more cheerful,

1 (41m 21s):
What it is also like I think about one of the things I try to practice on a daily basis is the Ignation desolation. And Consolation so looking back over the previous day and just asking, essentially, when was I, as I, as I look back on it, where am I aware of a separation from God? And where am I aware of God's presence? Because usually that desolation is if I look back over the day and it only happens if I pause, I've gotten more attuned to it. And I'm like, Oh yeah, like there was just that tension in the air with Peter, what was going on there?

1 (41m 56s):
Was it my pride going on there was he upset about something and I wasn't paying attention well, and it's not always me, so I'm not, or why did I snap at penny for something that the day before would not have bothered me, but so just trying to identify those things, but on the flip side of that, really paying attention to those moments of delight of beauty, of truth of connection and thanking God for that, but also just experiencing that, the lighting in that. So I think it's really good to remember that this is not just about the Dying right, but is also about seeing through the lens of the resurrection in all that we experienced, even here and now.

2 (42m 37s):
Yeah. And I'm in it really a good example of that is Philippians, One where Paul is in jail and, you know, he says, yeah, I'm in prison. And, and I love, I wish the translations would, Paul says in chains and she's literally in chains. Yeah. And he says, yeah, but look at all these people that are hearing about Jesus, right. And then you know that these people are trying to get Paul and trouble and pulses, but they're telling people about Jesus and that the whole Praetorian guard His is hearing about Jesus.

2 (43m 11s):
And so, so he, so he he's, he's in tomb to looking at, with this, I like to call it a resurrection lens and I love the way you described it. They're in your Julia.

1 (43m 26s):
Well, thanks. It's it has truly made a big difference in my life. Right. In light of time, I want to ask you one final question, which is just to, I was thinking back to when our daughter, penny was first born, now Penny's 14. So approximately 14 and a half years ago, I called you because I had a newborn baby who had just been diagnosed with down syndrome. And you were the only person I knew who had a child who had you grown child and adult daughter with a disability.

1 (43m 57s):
And I just wanted some comfort and, and some assurance that God was at work in our family in and through who penny was, and not in spite of who she was. So I was thinking about, again, I loved the story you shared at the beginning of the J curve about just this ordinary trip with Kim and you, right. So honestly, about your relationship with her over the years and the way God has worked in her and through her. And I just wanted to end by asking you to talk a little bit about how Kim has helped you understand the J curve, whether that seeing it, it works in her life or how it's been at work in your life, through her.

2 (44m 34s):
So we learn from one another, we're in a little fellowship, right? And that even came out of it a little mini Dying when I about a dozen years ago, I was convicted about not taking time to pray with Kim, just so much to do is so busy in the morning. Why do I bother? And when I started doing that, her prayer life just blossomed and So, and it got, it gave me access to my heart, her heart in ways that I hadn't seen before.

2 (45m 10s):
So every time I quote lower myself and I say quotes, because as if you are higher, you know, you know, and every time I lower myself, I, there, you, you, you, you see these little communities they get created and you'll learn things about people. You're never going to learn, you know, that, and then these little Jesus, so you're a Jesus community creation machine.

1 (45m 38s):
I love that. And yeah, I, it's interesting for me I'm, as, you know, a pretty cerebral person live in a row and also in that world of like efficiency and information all the time, and penny is not, I mean, she just lives in, she wants to operate as a much slower pace. She would happily tell you that having down syndrome means that she learns more slowly and does things more slowly, and what's wrong with that. Like, she has a lot to say and its very profound and I really appreciate it.

1 (46m 8s):
But one of the things that I've been like convicted about recently is how I think, especially because we haven't been going physically to church in about six months because of the pandemic, I just have not had very much like worship music in my life. And I know that one of the ways that I can actually slow down before a God, but also in life in the world is by listening to music because it's often repetitive. It's much more meditative as opposed to me like, Oh, I can read seven chapters of the Bible or seven chapters of your book and feel like I've accomplished something in my time with God today.

1 (46m 44s):
But penny, I mean daily on the way to school, when we weren't even going to school last spring and we were just making breakfast together in the kitchen, it's like, we're going to worship listening to worship music and we are going to sing it together and we're going to sing it over and over again. And that is something that I quote unquote slowed down to do for her. Right. But what was it? It was actually this gift of life. And grace to me both to experience that with her because she now will call upon words from the songs or just be a tuned to that as a place where God meets her.

1 (47m 23s):
But also as this place of just sustenance and care for me, because even though I resist it, I so need to just slow down and settle into God's presence rather than try to learn more and do more and be more, I love to hear what are some of the worship songs are, are worship leaders that she enjoys. So the song Waymaker do you know that song literally. I mean, its been at least six months now that before bed we hold hands and all we do is sing.

1 (47m 55s):
You are the, Waymaker a miracle worker promise keeper light in the darkness. Oh my God, that is who you are. That's always sing like it to that one line. And don't you find that shaping your soul. I mean to sing that truth with my daughter, every single night have this pandemic I meet. And then we went together after George Floyd was killed, there was a prayer gathering and a local Citi.

1 (48m 26s):
And we went as a family to that gathering. And penny really didn't want to be there. I can't even remember why, but she was really resisting it and wanted to leave and was mad. And I was mad at her for being mad about being there, you know, and any schedule change, all of that is happening when then what happens. This worship band gets on stage and they start playing Waymaker. I was like Patty, it's our song. And she totally saw that as God inviting her to be there.

1 (48m 56s):
I mean, it was abs she was all in from that first moment, but yeah, I mean, and I'm sure we both could just trade stories for the next hour along these lines of just being invited into the heart of God, through our daughters. All right. Well, I'm going to let us send right there and I'm going to thank you again, not just for this conversation, but also for the many years of work. And these works with the love that you've given to the body of Christ in writing and teaching.

1 (49m 28s):
And I'll make sure that we make note not only of the J curve and also of the person of Jesus study, which I've really benefited from over the years, your other books that are just also a really beautiful. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

3 (49m 42s):
Thank you. Thank you for your good work to read my son.

1 (49m 49s):
Thanks so much for listening to love is stronger than a Fear. We we'll be sure to note to the various references and the show notes with love for you to check those out. And again, as always to share this episode to subscribe to the podcast, gives it a rating or review. If this is a conversation that has made a difference with You for you, share it with somebody else, tell somebody about it. That way more people can benefit from these conversations. I also wanna just say thanks to our cohost breaking ground. They're more podcasts, articles, videos, those all reflect from a Christian perspective.

1 (50m 23s):
How to think about the past and understand the present and explored a possibilities for the future. You can find all that at breaking ground that you S. Thanks also to Jake Hansen for editing this podcast to Amber bury my social media coordinator, they both make this much easier to listen to and better for everyone than I ever could do on my own. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And for you, the listener as you go into your day to day, I hope and pray that you will carry with you.

1 (50m 55s):
The peace that comes from believing that love is stronger than fear.

4 (51m 1s):