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Man cave? Why would I build an effigy of my inner isolation? I’m lonely enough in my mind already. Damn that curated life. Damn all the energy we put into searching for self-gratification. Happy are those who are depleted, who do not exalt themselves. Self-care is important but self-sacrifice even more so. Drink wine and watch Netflix if you must, but drink a suffering cup too. In any attempt to pursue your dreams make sure you’re not just constructing a graven image of yourself, to yourself. Don’t be like celebrities who sell their sex tapes for money and fame, which must be the very epitome of emptiness. Beware of celebrity preachers who from their pulpits (and in the name of God) say that they’re rich and famous because of God’s blessing. Material wealth and widespread notoriety is not a sign of God’s favor! Many saints have lived in the abundance of Christ, completely unknown with not a nickel to spare. The good life is hidden and small, marked by restraint and patience, unenvious of practically everything. If you can afford a thirty thousand dollar new kitchen and that is what you want, then get one. But if you do not have the means to remodel your old duct taped together kitchen, that’s okay too. Be happy with the utilities in your pipes and the soup on your splattered stove top and leave the front door open so angels may enter. You have been invited by God to give what you have to others. You have been asked to follow Christ into the sweet blessedness of deprivation. Don’t dream of being famous and important. Dream of being satisfied with being known among a precious few. We see religious empires crumbling before our very eyes, but do not be afraid. Empires come and go. What should we do when the wicked prosper? We should rejoice in God’s faithfulness. We should pray for the persecutors. We should welcome the gift of a small, hidden life. We should embrace the hope that the Kingdom of God is already present in all the world and the faithlessness of religious people and institutions in no way determines the success of Christ’s rule and reign and we will find that out as we learn to prayerfully embrace our daily lives with the wisdom of patience and grace.

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