Freedom Fruit 
Sunday, July 1, 2007, 08:14 AM - Sermon
Galatians 5:1, 13-25

We are entering the world of the fruit of Spirit. The works of the flesh are breaking down in this hyperconnected, world. It used to be works you made, what you did. Who you were, how you behaved, didn't matter as much. It was nobody's business, and outside of an expensive private investigator, it couldn't be anyone's business. Now leave an angry phone message and it is on the internet. Treat a girl rotten and get on the who not to date web site. Even minor things are recorded, I remember grossing out a friend of mine: “according to the Rotary's web site you have been a guest at Rotary five times in three years, when are you going to join?”

The book titled How by Dov L. Seidman argues that when everyone can do things cheaper, faster, better than the next person when everything becomes a commodity, HOW you doing something is the only thing that sets you apart from everyone else. In this view, Google isn't a search engine for finding web pages, it is an reputation management system. Google itself is almost spiritual in its motto “Don't Be Evil” which came from a desire not to make rules to direct individual actions on WHAT they should do in various circumstances, “Be on time for meetings” but HOW to act in all situations.

Wikiopedia talks about Google:

Google also falls victim to general criticism of companies that promote their corporate social responsibility, since many economists and business leaders believe that a corporation's first duty is to maximize shareholder value. This point of view holds that corporate social responsibility is either cynical and empty self-promotion (if the company's social responsibility claims are false), or detrimental to shareholder value (if the claims are true). Google, however, claims a third position, that a Don't Be Evil culture is a prerequisite to building shareholder value in the long term for a company that requires public trust to achieve its mission.

I maintain that the works of the flesh is greed, taking short-term profits. Short cuts to quick profits. The pay-off for fornication is quick and fleeting, the same with drunkenness, anger, quarrels, jealousy. All have there counterparts in the corporate world where we are seeing vast changes from the abuses of the Enron scandles and others. For the whats that used to make profits, the widgets, the cars, the people who answer the phone, all are made quicker, cheaper, and more efficient by someone else. People are now looking at how companies work, not what they produce. For the whats are becoming the same.

IBM got out of the computer making business, international business machines, and is now in the consulting business, trading making WHATs into selling their HOWs. Ever take an camera to an Art Fair. Don't do it. A picture of a painting can be copied at a photoshop, enlarged, and hung on the wall in four hours. Next month it could be $19.99 at the discount store. WHATs are becoming less important.

The world of the flesh is failing. It destroys itself. Instead comes the world of the spirit. Note there is only one fruit of the spirit. Not several fruit“S” (You can amaze and astound your friends with that trivia. Many gifts of the Spirit, just one fruit of the Spirit. ) If you are of the spirit, all these flow from the Spirit. It is the “Do be evil” idea of Goggle. All from there instead of from rules on rules.

To live and guided by the Spirit is to work on these items. Dov Seidman talks about it as trust. It is good idea. He has a bio-chemical and anthropological argument for using trust, but we have a better one. Living and being guided by the spirit is at its heart. The belief that the world is good and it is headed for a good purpose. Christians see this in the creation story, were God calls the creation good. We also see it in God's love for people shown in Jesus Christ. It you know the outcome is good, if you believe in God's providence, then it is easier to be patient. If you trust in God to work things out, you can have more self-control. If you don't look at the short term profit, the instant gain, the individual pay-off but the spirit of God in the kingdom, you will see more fruit of the Spirit.

Look at the Gospel…here is a disciples what to take short term profit on their mission to discipline the ones who rejected them. Jesus takes the longer term view…he doesn't punish folks who aren't ready for him yet. He has patience and self-control. What if he did that today? The films would be on youTube and the news, the bloggers would crucify him, and his message and his reputation would be ruined. The reputation latter is climbed one rung at a time, but when you fall, you slide all the way down.

Time and again, I've seen it is it not the incident, the offense, that causes the uproar but the reaction to it but the individual or the institution. And how often have you heard it said, “It isn't what was done, but how it was done.” The flesh is all about “Just Do It” get it done, self-indulgence, short cuts, and short term. The Spirit is about longer term values, about other people, relationship where trust and reputation matter and flow. Google, if they were more theological, might be tempted to replace, don't do evil with the positive, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

How would this work out? What would a world, a culture, an economy based on the fruit of the Spirit instead of the self-indulgent works of the flesh look like? It would be one not based on rules and laws, for the Spirit is not subject to rules and laws. How can you legislate trust, patient, generosity, kindness? If all lived by the Spirit, we wouldn't need some many laws, Jesus and the epistle today says they can all be reduced to one, “Love your neighbor as yourself”

What about the abusers? Rules are useful for minimums, for safety to set the floor. But not for motivation or inspiration or the ceiling as Dov Siedman says. You cannot make a rule to be the best for one cannot envision all the possibilities and situations and cover them with rules.

The wave was invented in October of 1981 at an Oakland A's game by Krazy George, the world's sexiest professional cheerleader. Siedman says getting a stadium full of thousands of fans to cooperate and make the wave cannot be done by hiring them (who has that money?), scaring them, (who can frightening folks across a stadium?), or making a rule that everyone has to jump up at the right time? It can only be done with trust in the community. That is how the Spirit transforms, by transformation relationships and people into communities that help one another, that see the bigger picture of a mighty wave of humanity when flesh self-indulgent folks only wonder what's jumping up and down going to do for me?

Be a part of the wave. Live and be guided by the spirit.

Advanced permission is given for non-profit, for-prophet use of the above at no charge as long as it is reproduced unedited with notices and copyright intact. Written copies are provided after they are preached as a courtesy for the personal, private, appreciative use of the congregation of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, their families and friends to support the ministry of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church and its pastor the Rev. J. Christy Ramsey. Join us Sundays! 8:15 Traditional Worship and 10:15 Blended. Mingle in our Gathering Room between services and take advantage of Christian Education opportunities.

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