I just finished reading the first chapter of Trip Lee’s book, The Good Life. I bought one for a neighbor who needs to understand the gospel clearly and a robust biblical understanding of what Christianity is after being exposed in the South to much cultural Christianity, or what some have called, “Churchianity.”
I’ll meet with him tonight Lord-willing, so I don’t know what will happen in our discussion of that chapter and or our discussion of the gospel message.
I was encouraged at the hope we have to be able to live the good life. We can be freed from the lies, sin, and being robots (slaves) to it. We don’t have to believe the lies we hear on the radio, iPod, TV, billboards, or from those we talk to. We can have the truth and live by it.
Trip identifies our main problem as spiritual, not intellectual. He’s absolutely correct here. Even if we could use our minds perfectly, it would not free us from our sinful nature, disposition, and choices. The identification of our enemies as Satan, the world, and the flesh was clear and helpful.
I think the book is accessible and I hope it will engage my neighbor who doesn’t read much, let alone a Christian book.
I do have a few reservations I will test on my neighbor regarding the “usual suspects” section. Trip identifies hedonism as a problem, when we do everything for our own pleasure and happiness. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think there are three problems located a bit deeper or wider than where Trip points. The problem is where, who, and what we go to to find our pleasure and happiness. A secondary problem is what happens to our interaction with others when we go to the wrong place, person(s), and or things for this pleasure and happiness. Another problem is that anything other than God in Jesus Christ will not give true and lasting happiness and pleasure. So I think the problem is deeper than Trip states it and thus he misidentifies it. So yes hedonism that is not centered in and focused on Jesus Christ is an enemy of the good life! But not hedonism or the passion to pursue pleasure and happiness in general and especially not hedonism and the passion to pursue the fullest, deepest, and longest happiness and pleasure in Jesus Christ in particular.
I think “all-you-can-be-ism” and “all-about-me-ism” are helpful to identify and denounce. My other reservation is the related statement that the problem underlying these is the core value of the “self.” He clarifies and says that he means its a problem when the worldview is built around the idol of ME. He’s right on that clarification, but I caution those who feel guilty when they do things for their own joy in Christ or for their own benefit. That is right, good, and the way God made you. But Trip is right, doing things for your benefit and happiness in the center or as the focus is evil and destructive to the good life. And I hope I can convey that to my friend as we discuss this chapter. More fundamentally, I pray I can heed Trip’s warning to me to not believe the subtle lies from Satan, the world, and my flesh that pushes me to the center of my life and pushes Jesus Christ to the periphery.
I’m grateful to God for this book, for Trip Lee’s ministry, and for an opportunity to love my neighbor like I love myself tonight.