Noah Stepro

Noah Stepro

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7-27-14: Enid: A Faith Beyond Your Means

We cannot have faith unless without being called outside of our comfort zones

7-13-14 Habakkuk: Hinds Feet On High Places

What are the heights that feel unattainable, impossible, dangerous and out of reach in your life? That is exactly where God wants to move you through the power of the Spirit. Arrogant people are shameless self-promoters who try to make it through life on their own strength. The righteous shall live by the faithfulness of God and humbly take a place of less importance, waiting for God to lift them to a place of honor.

6-29-14 Habakkuk: The Accuser Silenced

Salvation comes in desperation – God’s presence in your life will shake every foundation. What prisons need to be shaken in your life right now? Here is our installment on Habakkuk 3 – how to live by faith.

Thoughts on the World Cup

A few months back I posted some thoughts on the Super Bowl that got me into some trouble. Now let me touch the Golden Calf of the day, THE WORLD CUP #worldcupproblems

I figured, “hey, people defriended you after that post about the Super Bowl…why not slam the world cup?” – right? It is no secret, I enjoy futbol more than football…but there are some serous problems with what is going on in Brazil at the moment.

1. Human trafficking: The amount of human sex trafficking expected for the events around the developing country of Brasil is expected to dwarf that of the Super Bowl. This isn’t brought to the country by FIFA but is enhanced by this event (much the same way that sex trafficking was not brought to Seattle or San Diego by the S.B.). I have a good friend on mission in Sao Paulo right now trying to combat the inflammation of this industry brought by the Cup.

2. Poverty: The displacement of many of Brazil’s urban poor has brought sharp criticism of the countries priorities and disbursement of funds. This has brought on a slew of protests and rebellions…time will tell if FIFA really enhances the countries economic stability, wage equity and social welfare (many are doubtful).

3. Nationalism: It is a bit surprising to see the unabashed worship of patriotism and nationalism. I have been cheering the US as much as any other red-blooded American, but I am still a little perplexed by the worshipful nature of sports. Can we enjoy, revel and root for athletes without verging on idolatry? When I juxtapose this with religion and gender in America, most guys will spend money to go to a bar, exuberantly celebrate by cheering, raise their hands and stand up for a team….but when it comes to times of worship…crickets.

world_cup

Here are a few differences that I see between the World Cup and the Super Bowl

1. Comradery – the sense of international sportsmanship is akin to the Olympics (minus a biting incident).

2. Materialism – this is certainly part of the Cup, but it takes a backstage to the event itself. There are only three main points of commercial interest. Before the game, half-time and after the game (baring extra-time).

3. Sexualization – the absent of a half-time show diminishes the role of sex and objectification within the World Cup.

Are there more problems with the World Cup? Sure! Are there somethings that the NFL does better than FIFA? I’m sure that is true as well. I just offer a few observations…defriending worthy observations;)

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”

― Noam Chomsky

6-15-14 Habakkuk: The Shameless Defamed

When we live in relationship with God as Father we feel the need to see everyone else as his children rather than objects for exploitation. God says the righteous shall live by faith…that means exposing the darkness of pornography, exploitation, rape, globalization and drunkenness by living in the light of Christ through community, transparency, thanksgiving and dignity.

(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT…SLIGHT)

“Family supper at Burger Chef”…This is the brilliant, enticing line for the new fast-food franchise the men and (more prominently) women from Madison Avenue are selling America at the closing of season 7 of Mad Men. This is why we love Mad Men…able to sum up the allusive and leering reality so many of us feel by packaging feelings and fears in order to sell the hope of security, peace, family, and fulfillment we all desperately desire. The secret-sauce (slight pun) is that the sales people proffering such a dream are the very antithesis of the very product they are pushing.

 

For Mad Men fans, we have been through 7 (6 1/2) seasons of ups and downs (mostly downs) with these characters…and one consistent theme that emerged from the first time we saw Don giving his Kodak Carousel pitch to the melt-down with the Hersey’s rep…SPIRITUAL HEALTH MATTERS IN THE WORKPLACE. It is as if AMC created an 85 episode melodrama to convey the importance of soul care and the dangers of the pursuit of wealth, power and sex all any cost.

 

Some friends of mine at 3DM recently published a short book on the idea of Oikonomics…that is the economic exchange that places value in every aspect of our lives, not just our financial worlds. The premise is brilliant and it is one that the likes of Don Draper and Roger Sterling would do well to take note of. In the human economy we have at our disposal five capitals, or resources, to which we can spend and gain as we leverage one or two of them for greater quantity of the others. They are in ascending order:

what-are-the-five480

  1. Financial Capital (Dollars and Cents)

  1. Intellectual Capital (Concepts and Ideas)

  1. Physical Capital (Time and Energy)

  1. Relational Capital (Friends and Family)

  1. Spiritual Capital (Wisdom and Power)

 

We all poses in different measure and pursue these by varying importance. We are also called by Jesus to invest what we have and leverage it to gain the things that matter the most in life…The Kingdom (Mt25.14-30 and Mt13.45-46). I was not born with a high degree of financial capital, but was inherently given a great deal of relational capital from the church I came into as a teenager. I received investment from others and in turn invested in some folks around me…years down the road those relational investments have produced a return in financial, intellectual and spiritual capital. The people from Sterling Cooper certainly have a great deal of Financial and Intellectual Capital…but they are physical, relational and spiritual bankrupt. This is the ultimate ethos of the show.

peggy

This is also why these capitals have an ordering to them…financial capital is very important, but if you don’t have the intellectual power to manage it, it is useless; if you have no time or energy to use your financial capital or relational equity to spend it with what good is it? If you gain the world but lose your soul what good is it? Is this the not-so-subtle message Bert Cooper gives up in the closing of our half season as he is singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free”? The idea behind Oikonomics is that the best things in life do not cost money, but they do require a costly and very worthy investment.

Don Draper and the Economy of God – Oikonomics

6-8-14 Habakkuk: The Civilized Demoralized

We can either build our own EMPIRE or join in the coming of the KINGDOM of God…but we can’t do both!
Our ideologies can become the idols we set up and worship in the name of progress, freedom and safety. Hail Jesus as King and joining his Kingdom is the only driving force for a disciples life.

6-1-14 – Habakkuk: The Fortified Dismantled

We can be imitators of God and live by faith and the Spirit of Jesus or imposters of faith and pose by our own self-righteousness

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