Whatever You Do, Don’t Follow Your Heart

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 3.13.48 PM.png“What does your heart tell you?”

“Follow your heart.”

Sounds right. It makes for great movies and stories. The main character pursuing what they know to be right, but their heart being tugged in a different direction…and in the critical moment, they choose to follow after their heart…and everything ends up happy ever after.

Everything…happy…ever after.

Yeah. That happens in the movies. That rarely happens in real life.

The problem with the heart is that the heart is wrong more often than not. At one time the heart thought Lisa was the one…then it thought Jane was the one…then at another time, the heart was sure Jenny was the one…The heart lies. The heart has no clue.

The heart has no boundaries. The heart has no concern for morals. The heart doesn’t have any other loyalty other than getting its desires met NOW!

Thing is, people have followed after their hearts and left their spouse and children, leaving devastation in its wake. Why? Because it felt so right. I was just following my heart.

People have followed their hearts and ignored all the warning signs, all the statistics, all reason that clearly showed it couldn’t possibly work out and find themselves in impossible and violent relationships.

The heart can’t be trusted.

So what do you do?

Do what’s good and right.

Things are good and right because…they are.

So please…for your sake…whatever you do…do not follow your heart. Do what’s right and good.

Faith and the Idolization of Individualism

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As Americans, there are fewer things we value more than our individualism.

This idolization of individualism has lead to a myriad of issues. One of the serious consequences of this individualism is putting the self at the center of what is and what is not true. In this highly individualistic culture, the self has become the ultimate determinant for what is true and what is not.

  • No longer do we accept a higher authority – God – as the determiner of what is right or wrong. If what God says doesn’t jive with me and my  experience, my personal experience trumps God’s standards.
  • No longer do we accept a shared-cultural understanding of social and moral norms.
  • What works for you doesn’t work for me. As long as what I believe and what I do doesn’t hurt you, who are you to tell me that what I’m doing is wrong?

One of the problems of this heightened individualism is that the individual experience is never sufficient for properly understanding the world around us.

We need the voice and the experiences of others. We need the wisdom and the value of others to help us to get a proper perspective of the world. Our understanding and our perspective will always be limited and incomplete without the voice of others.

I write all this because, it seems to me, the idolization of individualism has worked its way in how American Christians view our faith. We place our individualistic experience, our personal understanding of what God says above all other authorities. We have a hard time submitting to the understanding, teaching, and the authority of the church.

What we seek – the connection between who God is and who we are on a personal level – is not a bad thing. This is, in fact, a good thing. Who God is must make a difference at a personal level.

However, how we pursue this as individuals in a culture that has made an idol of individualism is the problem.

Faith, by its very nature is communal. Faith is never the possession of one. Faith belongs to the community. Faith is birthed in community. Faith is nurtured in community.

And it’s in community our communal sharing of life and faith that faith begins to make sense to the individual person. You take the individual outside of faith, and a faith experience apart from community is a mutation. Such faith is not what God ever intended.

Faith is birthed, shaped, formed, and lived out in community.

How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone to Not Evangelize?

Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller is a self-avowed and vocal athiest. He tells of a time when he was given a Bible by someone after one of his shows and Penn says:

I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there is certain point where I tackle you. And is this more important than that…”