To critique American Christianity is to dive into what appears to be a popular mindset among critics. Understanding the why is not as important as learning the perspective and the motive.
For instance, is the writer cynical from an atheist’s view or from having been in the church for some time and found themselves disenchanted by the people within?
I think we must first ask if the critique is coming from inside or outside the church. After that, what is the intent of the writer? If the intent is good, are we listening and hopeful to receive the criticism constructively?
The church is under fire, but not because of faith, it is indeed because of rhetoric and self righteous hypocrisy within the church. What I find however is more often than not, it is a few very loud parishioners who are outspoken in their opinions. We are witnessing a ‘talk-show’ mentality among the far right in the church.
The intent here is to point out a growing problem and bring it before the only principality I am sure of today; God. We need to pray for intercession, clarity and boldness to confront this very real threat. The church is the body of Christ and there is no place in that body for this kind of sickness.
I am also writing out of love. Our positions as Christ followers (or little Christ’s), is to love one another as He loved us. When we aspire to that end we bring about the light to this place that Jesus desires for us. However, when we indulge in this foray of rhetoric because it seems the place of the church we fall into a trap that the enemy is all too keen to lead us.
We can be sure of one thing and that is God is in control. God knows the devils we face and He will not let us suffer more than we can handle. Pay attention to what you see and hear and filter it through the word of God and let the Spirit be your guide. The critics are many but their words are hollow and fade away instantly when compared to the greatness of our creator.
I could sit here and list for you the egregious offenses that are going on right now but you already know what I am talking about. Whether politics or economical factors or rumors or lies, we are in the midst of a chaos that is human made and not God ordained. We are allowing a dark negativity to pervade our souls, especially when we allow it into the very sanctuaries of this world.
I do not sit here to critique the church as much as I do the Christians inside that church. To enter into God’s house you are to have first made right with your brother or sister and then you go to God to give Him praise for all He does in your life. Instead we walk before God and lay burdens at His feet that are more than trivial, they are self serving and downright dangerous.
To make matters worse, we poison the minds of other Christians with the defense that we must all think alike! We must all vote alike and like the same radio and TV stations and agree on public policy the same. This inerrant world view is such that it is becoming main-stream in churches across the United States today. If you walk into a church, you are in essence saying that you agree and abide by the beliefs of the whole (or the majority). Those beliefs are not what you think; they are not the tenets by which that church practices their faith, but instead they are the tenets of being a patriot or merely an American Christian.
There are many tenets of this so called movement. Among them are beliefs such as pro-war, anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, pro-Republican, anti-liberal. The list goes on but sufficed to say, this is a movement rooted in Reagan-ism and is not going away for at least thirty years (that’s how long it will take for the majority of these believers to start passing away). I don’t go down this road to make people uneasy, but to prevail to people to stop and pay attention to what is going on.
We have become such an intolerant society. Nothing is good enough anymore, at least not for any considerable length of time. We change our minds more often than we change our underwear. We do so because there are truly no consequences left. So much of Christianity allows believers a free ride anymore. Since we are not responsible for our own salvation and we couldn’t do anything about it anyway, what do we have to gain by living a good life?
Jesus came and rocked the worlds of twelve every day guys. For 3 years He showed them a love they had literally never seen. He taught them what it meant to truly serve others. And lastly He taught them what sacrifice really looked like. Along the way He pointed to the Father countless times, spoke of the Law regularly and made a few things crystal clear.
Number one, that no one was getting to the Father except through Him. Number two, that we needed to actually love the Father with everything and to do so at all times (not just on Sundays). And number three, we have to love our neighbor…every last, dirty, rotten, crummy lot of them. For better or for worse, we have a lifetime to live out in service to the very people who would rather see us dead.
Do me a favor and re-read that last paragraph. Soak in that last sentence. Does modern Christianity look like this? Think especially hard of the people you see everyday, the ones you know that go to church, including yourself. This is not a joke, this is your life we are talking about here and you have a choice to make. Will you continue serving something else first (insert America or the GOP or Glenn Beck here), or will you wake up to your true calling.
American Christianity will taste a bitter defeat soon, rest assured. It will be the fault of a few well intentioned folks who just wanted to make the Christian life more publicly noticeable but instead turned Christianity into a side show for politics and right wing talk show hosts. Do not fear however, there is a way out and His name is Jesus. Unlike the GOP, He will not let you down….ever. Your eternity depends on whether or not you accept that simple truth.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.