Tuesday, May 12, 2009

i don't want to be an older brother

curtis is reading me 'the prodigal God' by tim keller. it's very interesting... he begins the book with something i've never heard. the word "prodigal" doesn't mean quite what we think it means. it means "recklessly extravagant " and "giving or yielding profusely; lavish". keller's big idea is that the most prodigal person in the story is the father, who represents God. huh.

last night was chapter 3 - how both sons in the parable are "lost"... that we can be lost by our dissolute, selfish and amoral choices like the younger brother, OR by our rigid morality, fierce rule following and self-righteousness like the older brother. (i wish i had the book here - i'd "read' you some of it). both ways of living isolate you from God, and in both lifestyles you are trying to be your own savior. and then i read this article this morning: teen suspended for going to girlfriend's prom. his baptist school doesn't allow dancing or handholding or rock n' roll - really? "rock n' roll"? - and when he went with his girlfriend to her prom at a different school, they suspended him.

because Jesus didn't come 'that (we) may have life, and have it to the full' (john 10:10) - he came so we wouldn't or hold hands, dance or listen to rock n' roll. *sigh*

i read this, and i know tim keller is right. the older brother is just as lost, or more lost, than the younger brother. at least the younger brother recognizes that he is wrong...

4 comments:

Krissi said...

Have you ever read Henri Nouwen's The Prodigal Son? I highly recommend it. Through Rembrandt's painting he gives a very reflective look at all the character's in the story/painting. A very worthwhile read.

Angela said...

JJ and I have always joked that he's like the older brother. I think by that he means that he sympathizes with the older brother because I think in the end, those who are relentless rule followers follow those rules not because God wants them to, but because THEY feel like if they do, then God will like them more, that they will deserve more because they did the "right" thing. Instead of needing to make their own choices about the "right" thing, they let someone else do it for them. See the problem with self-righteousness isn't necessarily that the person hasn't done the right thing - the problem with self-righteousness is that the person has done the right thing for the WRONG REASON, and then proceeds to want credit for it. He's done the "right thing" because someone, usually some human, has said that these are the rules, and by following the rules, the rule follower can make HIMSELF look better.

rachel said...

"See the problem with self-righteousness isn't necessarily that the person hasn't done the right thing - the problem with self-righteousness is that the person has done the right thing for the WRONG REASON, and then proceeds to want credit for it."

you are exactly right.

Annie said...

Amen!