It hit me like a ton of brick.
And it's true.
There are people all over the world who long for US poverty levels as their label of success.
Churches all over the world plead for just religious toleration --- much less religious liberty.
The more I see, the more cynical I am becoming. The American church has crossed the Rubicon somewhere in my lifetime & quite possibly burned the bridge too. Jesus is now the All American Boy. Faith is equated with patriotism. Orthodoxy is seen in political terms instead of Biblical principles. Militarism has replaced good works. American policy has usurped missional efforts.
The church has begun using God as an excuse ... an excuse to bully. "God Bless America" is now a battle cry instead of a prayer. We bully the non-Christian here & abroad with our money, power & influence. Instead of calling for the lost to know Christ, the church prays for God to watch over our military as we impose our American Policy by force. How do we ask God's blessing in a way that doesn't effectively pray God's curse on others?
This is not to say that America is always wrong. Not so. Not so at all. This is the best & greatest nation on earth. God has blessed us mightily. We have a good thing going. But I fear the church is less concerned about our fellow man than we are trying to help Caesar spread political influence.
The poor, the weak, the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the less everything are seen as a political objective instead of real people needing ministry ... instead of needing Christ.
Is the church really living Christ when we:
- Eat all we want & then some, while people all over the world are begging for scraps?
- Gorge ourselves in luxuries but don't even bother to consider that real people look on us as indulgent & abusive?
- Act in such a way that the world sees us as thieves of natural resources just to fill our excess?
- Claim, Blessed are the peacemakers, but the rhetoric from most pulpits is You're not Christian if you're not for the GOP policies & the war in Iraq?
The Biblical understanding of blessing is different than is being presented by many religious leaders. The Bible is clear: With blessing comes responsibility. God's blessing is never intended to be only for personal or national prosperity. God's blessings are intended to be used to bless others.
Nations will ultimately be judged not by how strong are their armies or how rich & powerful their people are, but by how the poor, the marginalized, the foreigners & the enemies are treated.
And the church will be measured by the discipleship efforts, not the political power it wielded, fostered, gained, used, manipulated or imposed.
God help us to remember that.