Every Thursday evening at 7 PM central time, I go live on my Facebook page with a discussion of the Sabbath school lesson. I am always one week ahead, to give students a chance to evaluate what I’ve said, and to incorporate it — if they find it suitable — into their own understanding of the lesson. I often include “block diagrams,” or a “syntactical display,” of biblical texts being used. You may find what I present challenging, unusual, surprising, or irritating. What  you will not find is “the same old, same old.”

Having written helps for the young adult quarterly in years past, I understand the constraints the lesson authors are  under, and I  do not criticize them. The final product is the work of the committee, and as such, necessarily has every potential rough spot ironed out. That process can produce a  lesson  which is not entirely coherent.

For example, the quarterly defines materialism as “when the desire for wealth and possessions becomes more important and more valuable than spiritual realities.”

I find the definition frustrating for two reasons: first, the lesson quarterly defines stewardship, “broadly, as managing tangible and intangible possessions for the glory of God.” That’s not a bad start, but in practice it simply means money. Second, it then places “materialism” in opposition to stewardship.

Then, in the first lesson, titled “The Influence of Materialism,”  it proceeds to describe materialism essentially as either “money” or “riches.” I find this frustrating because I see materialism as being a tremendous challenge to the church at this time, but in ways far more dangerous, and more far-reaching than mere money.

If you would like to see my discussion of at least  four ways materialism is impacting the church, and how that, in turn, impacts stewardship, tune in tonight at 7:00 pm central. https://www.facebook.com/ed.dickerson.10