So many of our discussions are just scratching the surface of topics that many books have been written. I appreciate so much the articles and insights that are shared after the discussion. Below are a few of my “Take-Aways.” This does not come close to reflecting the breath of our thoughts nor even the best ideas on the topic. For that you are welcome to join the group.
1. The Apostle Paul talks about the flesh as being our personal temptations, weaknesses, failures, our private crimes and sins. We accept much of this because of number two.
2. The deeper issues of evil are the intrinsic cultural acceptance of norms that we accept but are untrue. Some examples:
a. Proud of our military might, war is justified but murder is bad.
b. Protecting our institutions, (denominations/government), the “common good,” even if the lie itself is unjustified.
c. National pride, being patriotic is good but personal pride and vanity is bad.
d. Being entrepreneurial, successful, profitable, becoming a monopoly in the marketplace while destroying competition and the little guy is bad.
e. The media creating its own truth is ok until it is unacceptable.
3. This level as described in Colossians 1:16 of “powers, principalities, and thrones” are pre-modern words for what we now call corporations, institutions, nation-states, political parties that in themselves (in the beginning) are often good but over time become idolatrous, too big to fail, demanding full allegiance, driven by profit and power, intolerant of criticism.
4. Another level of evil is the acceptance of what we cannot challenge nor change, colossal political expenditures (Georgia for example), wages of our corporate executives having salaries 200 times regular workers that are sanctified and romanticized and idealized necessities.
5. We often feel helpless in the face of injustice. Yet, we see people standing up for what is right, paying the cost, and making a difference. Good people, righteous people, are often a part of institutions and policies that are not acting for the common good. Therein lies the challenge of discernment and groups such as this Sunday group where we can together evaluate, encourage, and empower each other.
6. One of our members asked us to recall a time in each of our lives when we surprised ourselves with our level of both goodness (Fruits of the Spirit) and a time when we surprised ourselves with how evil was alive and well in our life. I don’t think we have the capacity to see and experience the limits of both until we are placed or intentionally place ourselves in situations of high stress. I can see myself doing some atrocious evil deeds and also dream of being a saint. Both evil and goodness reside in my life.
7. Facing evil just at the personal “flesh” level does not seem to me to be sufficiently Biblical. Rather, we need a deeper understanding of what the “Kingdom” on earth really is all about. Next Sunday is coming.