Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving Christianity into Western thought…

For so long, we as Americans have believed that while Christ died for our sins, we are somehow detached from His commission because this country was founded on the belief that religious oppression included something we left behind in the Old World. Americans embrace a New World philosophy where apparently we are supposed to be “free” from oppression and persecution.

With that in mind, fundamentalists are adamant about protecting that particular freedom as truly American, and a God given right. We move through life, generation after generation, upholding a belief that somehow being an American frees us from suffering for Christ (Philippians 1:27-30).

Instead of gaining freedom from sin through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we claim freedom by honoring the lives, and more importantly the deaths, of military men and women who supposedly grant us freedom.

But what does that freedom look like? Does it free us from eternal damnation or from sin? The claim is that we are freed from tyranny, right? Christians were persecuted (and still are) in the Old World, but American Christians believe that persecution has no place in their New World.

Christ Himself came to restore and give us new life, and all because of a grace that we could never understand. We celebrate that restoration by giving up our old ways and our old lives in order to live victoriously in Him. Our commission is to share that very news.

The contradiction for American Christians comes when we celebrate a freedom that is born out of death and nothing more. It happens when we rally around a freedom that is represented by man made accomplishments and man made documents. Americanism is all about what we have done and not so much about what our heavenly Father has done for us by His grace.

Leave it to man to circumvent God in an effort to be the top dog, especially an American man. The very image of an American man is one of rugged determination and grit, of steel jaws and raw nerves. Someone who doesn’t back down from a fight and never gives up. This image is powerful and it tends to draw every American in with the understanding that if you do not relate to this rugged American man, you must be either a traitor or a foreigner. Lately, you might be branded a terrorist.

The problem is that when the rubber meets the road and eternity is on the line, who are you going to trust; the military man with his big gun, or God Almighty?

Western thought (or Americanism) is relatively new in the grand scheme of things, especially that of philosophy and the understanding of the human mind. How any one group of citizens could have strayed this far in such a short amount of time is boggling but my inference is meant to elicit a question for each of us, and not meant to confuse or lead to more thought. The question is actually a simple one and it is this; who do you serve?

Take time to answer the question and do not jump to conclusions. It is easy to suggest that you serve God but I beg you to look at your life and examine what other forces are at work. What role does money play in your life? How about your job or your hobbies? Even your family focus needs to be looked at.

Most importantly, the object of this post is to examine what being an American means to you. I have written about this topic three times before and in those cases I pointed to the need for examination. You can keep blaming the other side if you want, keep pointing fingers, keep slapping “support our troops” bumper stickers on your car, but in the end God is going to expect much more from His children than silly rants on Facebook or catchy little Twitter slogans.

Move forward in your faith, but remember that in order to do so takes some bold thought. Redefining Western thought is an imperative but before we can even touch that one we have to redefine the priorities in our own lives. Examine yourselves by asking God for wisdom as James directs us. Then, turn your thoughts into actions that are truly beneficial to His kingdom, and not this one.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


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