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- Exploring Religious Options
A Perplexing Question
"Egg Head's cousin Red
Neck's cussin' hippies
for their hair
Others laugh at straights
who laugh at freaks
who laugh at squares
Some folks hate the whites
who hate the blacks who
hate the clan
Most of us hate anything
that we don't understand."
Fragmented & Tribal
We live in a pluralistic society. In the marketplace of ideas different traditions and points of view compete side by side.
Courtesy demands that we respect free expression, but we do not have to blindly accept every sentiment voiced. We’re required to be critical thinkers, weighing out various opinions on the scales of a worldview that humbly acknowledges God as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Yes, we need to learn from each other’s backgrounds and experiences, and have our lives enriched in the process. And yes, we must endeavor to understand diverse cultural mores, but goodnight nurse, commonsense tells us that it is not possible for every viewpoint or belief to be equal.
The doctrine of moral equivalence is a sorry standard that has carried us along on a path of ruin; taken to its illogical conclusion would result in chaos. We’d become so fragmented and tribal that we’d soon cease to be a functioning society.
Does genuine Christianity get bashed by the news media & entertainment industry?
Tolerance is the postmodern holy grail, but isn’t it interesting that adherence to tolerance is not extended to genuine Christianity?
An attentive investigation of television reveals that sitcoms and talk shows routinely ridicule Christians. It might even be seen as a favorite pastime for comedy writers.
The one-sidedness is not confined to the entertainment field. The national media makes no effort to hide its bias. News anchors and social commentators are full participants, using carefully chosen words to belittle or demean wherever that approach advances their preferred spin on a story.
According to the punditocracy that shapes perceptions, we who believe the Bible to be God’s Word are all either right-wing extremists, intolerant bigots, weak-minded individuals, intellectual lightweights—or some bizarre mix of those stereotypes.
None of this should surprise or disturb us, and here are four reasons why not:
(1) Referring to Jesus, the Apostle John wrote: “He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
(2) Jesus spoke about living against the grain: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(3) We are “aliens and strangers in the world”, citizens of an invisible kingdom. Jesus himself remarked that his kingdom was not of this world.
(4) In the greatest sermon ever preached Jesus taught us to store up treasures in heaven because “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” He then went on to talk about our inability to serve two masters.
"Do you ever wonder just
what God requires?
You think he's just an
errand boy to satisfy
your wandering desires.
When you gonna wake up,
when you gonna wake up?
When you gonna wake up
and strengthen the
things that remain?"
American Christians are past due for a reality check. We seem to want the pleasures and security that democratic capitalism provides while we pay lip-service to some high sounding principles and toss tokens in God’s direction.
In some circles, there is a misguided expectation for the church to wield power in the political structure of the country. We take on a war-room mindset where the strategy that develops makes us no different than enterprising lobbyists pushing an agenda through the corridors of government.
However, at its core, Christianity is a counter-cultural movement. We are to form and nurture cells of true believers whose radically different lifestyles affects change in whatever dominant culture we find ourselves in.
To be effective change-agents we must exhibit sacrificial love, which manifests itself without judgment. And that means loving or at least attempting to love everyone with an unconditional love.
Why? We are to endeavor to love others without conditions simply because God loves us unconditionally and we are supposed to reflect God’s love to others.
The only people Jesus chastised were those who indulged in the sins of religious pride and hypocrisy. He always saved his harshest words for those who guarded regulatory rituals to create faith in their image, claiming they represented God.
Scripture shows that Jesus connected with ordinary folks who struggled with life and faith issues. He met hurting, lonely, and morally reprehensible people at their point of need, offering them love, acceptance, friendship, and an open invitation to belonging.
The following illustration is rather uncouth and rough around the edges so be forewarned.
No one gets excited or fired up when a bear takes a dump in the woods because that's where bears do their business. But good church-folks often get worked into a tizzy whenever raw pagans do what raw pagans do.
We attack and lash out when we are challenged, questioned or mocked by those who do not know Christ as Lord and Savior. Why? Doesn’t the Bible make clear that the Light came into the world but people preferred the darkness so they rejected the Light?
Bears dump in the woods; people reject the Light. We need to wake up to the fact that individuals desperately need Jesus Christ. Period.
Why do we think differently; why do we think we have to protect God’s turf? Why do we react to the hostility directed at God, Jesus, the Bible or us by fighting back with soaring rhetoric that does nothing to express grace, mercy, and forgiveness?
Christ went to the cross in obedience to God the Father; Christ was the demonstration of God’s transforming and supernatural love. We, those who proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior, are supposed to be the active instruments of that transformational love.
Which leaves us with a perplexing question: When will Christ-followers be obedient and take the message of God’s unconditional love to our culture?
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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