Friday, September 30, 2005

Carpe Diem, Coram Deo or both?

Steve Camp posts concerning his latest Starbucks (Here is the first post concerning The Church of St. Arbucks)cup.

Life at The Church of St. Arbucks
-today's cup #37 - Carpe Diem, Coram Deo or both?

The Way I See It #37
“Embrace this right now life while its dripping; while flavors are excellently wholesome. Take your bites with bravery and boldness since the learning and the growing are here in these times, these exact right nows. Capture these times. Because it will soon be very different." –Jill Scott (Musician. Her songs can be heard on Starbucks Hear Musictm station, XM Satellite Radio Channel 75). (BTW, Jill Scott is an amazing R&B, Jazz singer. If you have never heard her fluid, effortless, velvet vocal talents before, check out some of her free sound bites at iTunes and enjoy this gifted woman over your favorite “cup of Joe.”)

Cup #37 seems to be drawing from the Eckhart Tolle philosophy (living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment) in his tome “The Power of the Now.” Things such as enlightened relationships, creative use of the mind, impermanence, and the cycle of life are the essentials in this kind of philosophy. IOW - savor everything in its entirety for the present because we will never have these moments again as they are afforded to us "in the now" - right now. Life changes too quickly—so capture the moment to the fullest and drink it to the dregs. Learn to “be”; not just “become.” I get it. (Did you just experience an "aura fluff" like I did?).

What would you say to someone at St. Arbucks if you dialogued with them over “cup #37”?

The Way God Sees It
The biblical world-view is quite different from what is quoted above. Man was created in God’s image to obey, love, enjoy and serve Him--not the self, nor the moment. We were made for His pleasure--not simply our own. It is what Piper calls "Christian Hedonism" (even though Geerhardus Vos was the original coiner of this view). It is finding your greatest satisfaction in the selfish pursuit of knowing and glorifying God. But when sin entered this world through Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12-18), man then began to serve the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18ff); and there is no greater idol than self, consumed with only savoring to the fullest its present occupations. Unguarded pleasure; unbridled passion and unbroken pride - the unholy trinity of postmodern idealism.

In a small way, we can all identify with Ms. Scott's philosophy; for we also seek to “seize the day”—Carpe Diem, don't we? But Scripture is clear, we are not simply to live with the urgency of the moment just to “capture these times.” We live, as God's creatures, in light of eternity. In Him "we move and live and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We desire to do all things to God's glory (Psalm 115:1). We are to live in light of eternity (2 Cor. 5:11-21). Being a member of “The Dead Poets Society” breeds a romantic, unpredictable, untamed, free momentary “reckless abandon” that is curiously inviting--but doesn't quench the thirst, even for "the now."

But what ignites Carpe Diem and gives substance, meaning, purpose (sorry) and clarity “with bravery and boldness; [in the] learning and the growing; to embrace the right now life while its dripping” (good pun) is living each day Coram Dei – “before the face of God." That is where "the now" finds its greatest fulfillment--its only fulfillment. And this, biblically, is only possible through the gospel by knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and King.

So as Christians, let's not be embalmed with the truth; looking like nothing more than frontal pieces for the book of Lamentations; LET"S LIVE IT! Experience the reality of Carpe Diem in Coram Dei. And do so with joy, living daily in the presence of His glory--being salt and light to a lost world around you. “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do; do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Every day we live on "Mars Hill" in some fashion. Every day we have the opportunity to tell others about the knowable Triune God of the Scriptures through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."" -Acts 17:30-31

So when ministering at the Church of St. Arbucks, if you get cup #37 today, biblically encourage those to see the necessity of eternity (Coram Dei), in the now (Carpe Diem). Point them to the certainty that there is a Sovereign Judge to whom we must all give an account one day. That there will be a judgment; and how they live "now," to quote Gladiator, “echoes in eternity.” Will it be for God’s glory, or our own momentary fulfillment?

"What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." -James 4:14b-15

As my friend Mark McKee is fond of saying, “Evangelism, one cup at a time.”
Steve Camp

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