Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Would Jesus Do? Really.

A friend of mine once made a comment about the "world's" decadence & asked: Knowing what their fellow man is going through, how can they live like that?

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.

3 comments:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

VERY well said, my friend!

Michael Mahoney said...

I think every Christian in the US should go on a mission trip to a third-world nation and see how the world really is. Poverty is an amazing thing; it changes wherever you go.

Poverty in the US is one TV, dial-up internet and a junky car. Poverty in the rest of the world is no food, no shelter, no work and no hope.

foxofbama said...

Ryan:
BDid at bl.com is taking a close look at Jerry Sutton's new book.
And for sure, you must read the review of Charles Marsh by Damon Linker in recent New Republic, not to mention his book.
World has changed since the 50's and the folks who raised us feel alien in this new world.
Try to make sense of Adrian Rogers Charge, ET at Bl.com
and for sure read the Doctorow White Whale essay in recent Nation mag.
Check out Britt Towery's new blog, easy to google up. You'll like him and will want to link him on your blog.
And Sandy's pilgrimage at bl.com is interesting as well. He is trying to make peace.

Rank and file are in a fog. They have no idea what you are mad about.
We wrestle against the powers and principalities, Dobson and Land; but the person in the pew is in one big fog and don't know how they got there.