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A Perplexing Question

Updated on April 15, 2016
 "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."
    ~Kris Kristofferson~ 

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?

See results

Four Reasons

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?"
       ~Bob Dylan~ 
 
 

 

Reality Check

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.

This IS NOT unconditional love. Unfortunately, this misguided woman truly believes she is protecting God's turf.
This IS NOT unconditional love. Unfortunately, this misguided woman truly believes she is protecting God's turf.

Transformational Love

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?

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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 9 months ago from Tennessee

      Hi, Ken. I am trying to get back into HubPages, renew some old acquaintances here and see who is around and still writing. I came across this article of yours that I found interesting and relevant. I see that you wrote it some time ago and renewed it this year. Interesting.

      I have been in church all of my life. I grew up in the UMC where my father was a pastor. It was always the rule with my father and other pastors that politics were never mentioned from the pulpit, nor in any other setting where they were in the role of pastor. They were to be pastor to all of the people. With that background, I have found it increasingly frustrating to see the pulpit being used for political purposes. I think it has greatly harmed the church in this country and alienated many, especially the young. I have a friend who says, 'If you mix politics and religion, you get politics'. I know, though, that all churches, perhaps most, are not like that. They just don't make the news. They go quietly about doing God's work.

      I suspect that politically you and I might be on opposite sides of the fence. I still remember, though, that you were one of the first people to welcome me here on HubPages. I always liked and miss your writing. Hope you are still well and still writing.

      God bless,

      Jo

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      RTalloni - Thanks for visiting & for leaving thought-provoking comments. Much appreciated.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Once we come to an understanding of why God created us and what the reciprocal love relationship He wants to have with us as individuals means most of our questions are easily solved. However, that is not to say that our Creator owes us all the answers. :)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      prasetio30 - Thanks for stopping in & leaving comments. Very much appreciated.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I liked tolerance and transformational love side. Those are beautiful side for a human and a part of society. Thanks for great thought and original topic.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      UlrikeGrace - Thank you. Much appreciated. And thanks for your honest & thought-provoking comments. I suspect that more often than we'd care to admit, we are all in the same boat. We all need to periodically remind ourselves. Blessings to you.

    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      Ken; Great and timely Word, in this age of "tit for tat." It never ceases to amaze me that we as believers expect non-believers to think as we do. Do we think our thinking as we do comes from ourselves? No, when we recieved salvation, the Holy Spirit also began the work of sanctification...it all comes from the Lord, not even our changed thinking has come from ourselves (well, mine didn't at any rate). Non-believers are blinded to the truth. So why do we expect them to be able to walk in the truth?

      It is as you and so many others here have said so well, if we as God's children would live in love and grace as God's children, different from the world...then we would see a difference.

      You may be interested in something James Ryle just wrote about recently, the url is:

      http://truthworks.org/?page_id=352

      He speaks of the same thing...

      I am convicted as much as anybody...to many times I catch myself trying to "fix" it instead of seeking the Kingdom of God and His people...and leaving the "fixing" up to God.

      Thank you for this hub, thanks for being willing to share the truth in love...it will be bookmarked along with James Ryle's to be read periodically to remind myself.

      Blessings to you

      Ulrike Grace

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      James - It's a message I need every time I watch the news. Glad it hit someone other than just me. :>)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Micky Dee. Very much appreciated.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      E. Nicolson - Thank you. Blessings to you.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Well, I suppose I needed this message considering I write about politics and social ills as I do. I agree with your truths here. Thank you for writing this article.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I think everything's been said. Put me down for what everybody else has said but more. Thanks

    • E. Nicolson profile image

      E. Nicolson 7 years ago

      A wonderful Hub, and a sobering reminder of what Christianity is truly about.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      heart4theword - Thank you. Your comments are exactly right. There can be no forgiveness without love. Take care.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Ann Nonymous - Thank you so much for your kind words. Peace & blessings to you.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Christian standards have changed so much, just as the morality of the human race.

      Without love being in the equation, it is hard to believe their could be forgiveness?

      If we could all learn to live more like God's standards, we would not be bashing other people. Great Hub:)

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Great message, wonderfully said and beautifully written. I loved it, Ken! God bless you for spreading this so lovingly!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Pamela - Good to see you. Thank's for visiting & sharing good comments. Blessings & much encouragement to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      quietnessandtrust - Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Very much appreciated. Your comments are right on. Blessings to you.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Ken, This is an excellent article. I am very particular about what I watch on TV. I hate all this bashing of Christians, but I have to be child of God and follow his teachings. That means I have to set an example of a Christian with the joy and love I've received. Who wants what I have if I stay mad, arguing with people and pushing my will on them. God Bless and thanks.

    • quietnessandtrust profile image

      quietnessandtrust 7 years ago

      WELL SAID KEN!!! WELL DONE!!

      Light just shines in the dark...it never tries to change the dark...the dark cannot comprehend the light...simple.

      To many believers run around trying to fix the dark instead of just simply shinning the light in the darkness and letting those that would come to the light, expose their deeds to the light and get them dealt with.

      To many of us run around proclaiming "our rights" and not proclaiming "the gospel"...to our own shame I might add.

      Interesting that none of the Apostles wanted a place in politics, they knew that would hinder them...believers have it backwards today.

      If you carry the truth, you are in an office already.

      ~Shalom

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Saintatlarge - Wow. Thank you for your affirming words of encouragement & thoughtful comments. Lots of fodder there. Peace & blessings.

    • Saintatlarge profile image

      Saintatlarge 7 years ago from Canada

      Ken excellent writing. There is just so much to say... Jesus lived in a time of Roman occupation and he never once slandered the government, but said, "Give to Caeser his due and to God his." i believe he was talking about more than just money. He also spoke about anyone demanding your coat to give your shirt as well, and it was known of the Roman soldiers to make demands of the people to carry this or that or whatever and he actually encouraged taking it beyond what was asked of you. i like Daniel who was in captivity, surrounded by demonic sorcery and ungodliness but when the King had a dream, he did not say, "You are finally getting what you deserve!", no he said, "Oh King, may this happen to your enemies and not to you." He had a true heart of a follower of Jesus and he didn't even know anything about him. But what a testimony of honor and respect. We are simply adding judgement to ourselves by not being willing to show forth grace, love, honor, respect kindness and peace, much of which are fruit of the Spirit. But then again we have to know of what "spirit" we are. True Christianity is going to get slammed, ridiculed, put down, laughed at, and on and on. As you have pointed out, we are not God's body guards and besides there is nothing new that he has not seen, heard or felt that could ever change what he has done for mankind in the love expressed through Christ. i think God has been 'extreme' with us and it's time for the true believers to be as extreme in their love for the world around us. Jesus did say, "Go into ALL the world and MAKE disciples." Disciple = Disciplined in ALL the FULLNESS of Christ. Someone has said, "Don't judge anything you are not willing to die for." Thx Ken. Blessings, L.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      tony0724 - Thank you for your affirming words. Glad for the company on that list. :>) We may all have to head to Arizona & hang out with Dusty a.k.a 50 Caliber.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Dusty - Thank you. Your comments fall into the "exactly right" file. Glad you shared them here. Take care.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

      Ken what an outstanding hub. I guess I fall under the right wing extremist category since I do believe Christ is Lord. And sadly you are right the message of Jesus is now considered hate speech by those who consider themselves great minds. My proclamation of being one of the God and Jesus folk I am sure will land me on Napalitanos right wing extremist list though.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 7 years ago from Arizona

      Ken, excellent presentation of a timely and accurate message that as stated above was an easy read. We have lived with the "Simpson's" cartoon for now on 20 years and it's every episode there are religious slanders and it airs in a prime time slot to reach younger viewers as well as older, another cartoon would be "Family Guy" and again slanders are there every time as well, they at the end of a show, have the cartoon character Peter tell America if you don't like it change the channel. America doesn't change the channel as these shows play for years and the worst part is they are cartoons and the young watch them with no supervision so I expect they get tainted at an early age. The warning change the channel after the show is the "screw you" Unchained Grace refers to. How do I know? I've watched them, as an adult I'm easy to shake my head in amazement that I've seen the the television censorship fall to almost none over my life time. I still remember, "Damn, Hell, Ass" considered to filthy to put on the air, then it graduated to off prime time to 9pm and now it just OK. I make no excuse as it is probably a sin to watch but I find humor in the jokes that are not aimed at God, but it hit me just now the "crude talk" is disruptive to God and his message, so I have to rethink the part where I think I'm old and wise enough that it's OK to watch as I can filter the filth out, but how do I filter filth from filth? It's redundant so I'll have some thinking to do.

      Thank you for a stimulating hub.

      Love and Peace, Dusty

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Bail Up - Thank you for your words. Sadly you are right. BUT we do have to try. Blessings & encouragement to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Unchained Grace - "I see it all the time. Intolerant and judgmental backbiting attitudes and that's in church."

      Me too & that's where it is truly tragic. Yes, the Bo Diddley song does fit this hub too. Thank you for your good words.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Abrushing1968 - Thank you for your kind & affirming comments. Much appreciated. Blessings to you.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago

      Such a constant debate as to who is right and who is wrong. Politics and religion being the worst to decipher. I get your message but truth is most of us human creatures will never even agree to agree. Thanks for trying to make a difference.

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I've noticed even with many shows also that when God's people or Christianity comes into play, the perpetrator is some wacko cult-based nutjob who probably went to the Jim Jones school of gathering a flock. It always seems that way. Maybe it's because that was representing the writer's only contact with Christians? If that's the case, then we have serious identity problems, don't we?

      I see it all the time. Intolerant and judgmental backbiting attitudes and that's in church. Somewhere between the "Praise God" and the "Amen" there's a "screw you" aimed at someone.

      Ken you said it well and made it right to the point.

      Bo Diddley's song really does make sense here, don't it?

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 7 years ago from USA- Florida

      Ken: this was an easy Read with an excelent message, great imagery. I especially liked the bear in the woods. LOL excelent point. I hope a lot of folks read this Hub!

      Thanks for reminding us who are.

      In Christ

      ABR

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
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      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      RevLady - You're welcome. Thank you for the encouragement. Blessings & peace to you.

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      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. POWERFUL STATEMENT OF TRUTH!

      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? When will Christ-followers be obedient and take the message of God’s unconditional love to our culture? GOOD QUESTIONS.

      Great reality check hub Ken. Thank you and many Blessings,

      Forever His,