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As an Englishman, one of the biggest challenges I've faced in America is automated call centers. You miss a package delivery from FedEx, and you have to call them to arrange a new delivery time. The problem is that when you call, you aren't ...

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Displaying 1–14 of 14 comments

tony kiar

April 06, 2013  7:49am

Christmas has become the epitome of everything that's twisted in our culture. Consumerism is ruining us and killing us - death by stuff. Over thirty years ago, President Carter of the United States of America said; "In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose."

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Jerry deliso

February 26, 2013  1:35am

He has given us the power to choose who we will serve, and choose we will; and serve we will. This essay is...excellent, thanks for writing it, God is good.

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Cari Andreani

February 20, 2013  11:39am

Fantastic article! Thank you!

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Corey Butler

February 19, 2013  2:10pm

The false god of open options? Too many choices at the coffee house? Please tell me you're kidding... This sounds similiar to the lunacy Christ decried regarding it being a sin to not wash your hands before eating. You've heard that one before right? It's no wonder the message of the gospel in this day and age is all over the place. How about this: stick to God's Word as-is and stop trying to come up with your own extrapolations.

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Colleen Chao

February 18, 2013  5:01pm

This is one of the best blog posts I've read in a very long time (and I read a lot of 'em!). Thank you for your vulnerability, faithfulness to Scripture, and spot-on analysis! I've been both the victim and perpetrator of open-options idolatry, and you have exposed its devastation so poignantly. Thank you so much for this.

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dennis mullen

February 18, 2013  3:53pm

John Frame's "No Other God," addresses this subject as well as anything I have come across. It should be read by one and all.

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Janathan Grace

February 17, 2013  8:08pm

I appreciate Barry's honesty about his own journey and his challenge to us all. It seems this topic is a subspecies of the bigger question of caution versus risk which is informed by ones personality, upbringing, theology, experience, and so on, so every decision (including the decision to keep one's options open) is highly personal and contextual. The fundamental question seems to be whether one is acting by faith, and neither caution nor risk are inherently tied more closely to faith except for clear moral choices (such as in the Bible passage referenced). Perhaps our cultural drift is too heavy towards caution and needs this reminder, but I would prefer to encourage faith and let that play out uniquely between God and each individual.

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February 17, 2013  5:20pm

@Martin: Thanks for the follow-up and the [gracious!] correction of my misspelling of Cary's name! Big oops on my part, because I have previously made a note to spell his name correctly!

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Jim Ricker

February 16, 2013  8:00pm

Having a back-up plan is wisdom. Refusing to commit is not.

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Martin Jacobs

February 16, 2013  3:49pm

@SCOTT - Good observation. Phillip Cary's book "Good News for Anxious Christians" (I find the author's name too easy to misspell) explores the effects of indecision, and how it has become institutionalized as a kind of folk-theology-dogma in many evangelical Christian circles. This article ably explores the roots of it. The good news here is to "Trust that God is good and sovereign, and redeems every choice we make.", and Barry Cooper rightly points to Christ as the prime example of "nailing" Himself to a particular choice (if I can put as bluntly as that). Cary and Cooper combine to challenge us to take the risk of making decisions, knowing that these decisions will go wrong on occasion, but that God's redemptive purposes will prevail.

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February 16, 2013  10:08am

On any topic or area, you can have options, or make choices. You really can't have both simultaneously.

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February 16, 2013  7:17am

I wonder (following Philip Carey) if this is also why we "need" to "hear God's voice" to be able to make a decision. We have so many choices and are so afraid to make the wrong one, that the only way to be able to make any decision at all is to have some experience that we can label as "God speaking to me." Then that choice has enough authority behind it to overcome our enslavement to the options.

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james .

February 15, 2013  8:14pm

Good application of 1 Kgs 18:21. I would further add that one of the biggest areas where this needs to be applied is when believers will not commit to a fellowship of believers. They need to become a "serving" members of the body of Christ to help build up the body that has many needs. Much easy to go from church to church to see what kind of ministry appeals to us most and never committing oneself to stay and serve and persevere with that fellowship God has called us to serve, that is, to seek to be served rather than to serve.

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Russell Subiono

February 15, 2013  1:36pm

Excellent article. Cut right to the bone and showed me that I need to be more committed to things, like my church and my job. My life motto has always been "always have a back-up plan," which is not a bad philosophy, but I now realize that sometimes it masquerades as a back-up plan when it's really a "keep my options open" situation. Thank you for the insight. Glad to have my head back on straight. Also, it's actually Robert DeNiro's character in Heat that doesn't commit to anything he can't walk away from in 30 seconds, although Al Pacino's character is no less guilty - he can't commit to anything except his job.

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