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01 June 2009

Them's the Brakes...

I enjoy learning. This isn't totally new for me, but it's definitely a post-high school thing. It's ironic and sad that I didn't care about learning when I was in one of the best places for learning (that's aruguable, I suppose).

In a nutshell, I see Christianity in America careening down a road at breakneck speed, and the road doesn't seem to have a desireable destination. What's happened is that Christianity -- the real deal -- has been watered down; our churches, in general, have been irresponsible by letting our members think that God is simply redemption and feeling good about themselves. The result is a dangerous thing: people who don't love Christ, and often don't even know Him, are out representing Him to the public.

In addition, many true Christ-followers don't take Scripture as their pattern for life, and actions and reactions are borne out of what they consider to be common sense. Unfortunately, the Bible will have us doing some things that might not exactly be what we'd consider "common wisdom".

These are areas in which I'm prone to be vocal. Sometimes I rail against what the Church is doing, and I'm usually not too shy about point out where we're going wrong. But I wonder sometimes if I over-compensate, and, like the Pharisees, I "strain [my] water so [I] won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but [I] swallow a camel!" (Matthew 23:34, NLT)

If a vehicle is racing in a direction that it shouldn't be, or is simply speeding, applying the brakes is a must. However, slamming the brakes to the floor (though sometimes needed) can actually be reckless and have disastrous results. What I'm saying is that I'm learning to have grace where needed, but to be Christ-like, wise, and judicious as the same time. The fact that Christianity has been watered down doesn't mean that all Christians have a watered-down faith, and I fear that I frequently have that outlook.

I have to admit that the area in which I'm probably most guilty of this is the blurry line between American patriotism (or probably more accurately, political conservativism) and Christianity. The two are not synonymous, and it's my opinion that most politically conservative Christians cross-pollenate them way too often. However, the two are not necessarily at odds, and I have a habit of treating them as though they are. I'm thankful for my friends Rob and Preston, in particular, who always deliver living proof that the two can harmonize.

Do you see any danger in the mix of these things in today's climate?


Leroy said...

If done properly, no, there won't be a clash of these two "titans". While they are mutually exclusive and stand powerfully on their own; it doesn't mean they shouldn't be used together.

There are many things in life that on the surface do not mix well together, such as gas and fire. But when they are mixed properly, you get a controlled burn that can cook your food, warm your house/water, power your car, etc.

In most cases, a balance of 'things' can be achieved without compromising the moral high ground of either 'thing'.

Dean Lusk said...

Dude, do you just sit around and think of great analogies??

Jacob said...

That was an awesome analogy Leroy. Very well said.

I feel that Christianity leans on the Right Wing because the sins that the Left Wing condones are "bigger" than the ones those on the Right Wing condone. We get this self-righteous attitude because we don't condone abortion or gay marriage, you know, the "BIG" sins. But we turn a blind eye to the social injustices being caused by Right Wing philosophies.

DD said...

Wow, "social injustices caused by right wing philosophies". If true political conservatism was practiced then the government would have less involvement in our lives (and wallets) allowing true Christianity to flourish.

Dean Lusk said...

"If true political conservatism was practiced then the government would have less involvement in our lives (and wallets) allowing true Christianity to flourish."Very good point. It seems that that's one of those "in a perfect world" scenarios. But that's why political conservatives should push forward if that's truly the goal (and I think it is); to help make things that way.

And I take issue with the phrase "caused by" in Jake's statement. It gets really messy there, and I don't see the Right as causing these problems. Instead, I see the broad conservative ideal, in general, (unfortunately I have to make a generalization) doing little to correct social injustices, so I agree with that much.

And please, don't say (or think), "So you think we should let a bum spend all his money on booze and crack, and then buy him a house?" No, I'm not saying that. However, many conservative pundits tend to use that broad brush with which to paint, suggesting that everyone in America has identical bootstraps and we should help none of them; at least not with government money. And for many conservatives, that's totally in line with their lifestyles -- they help the poor, they give money to charity and mission work, DO mission work, etc. But for many conservatives it's not a way of life. They're just bitter.

To me, what the Church has seemed to adopt out of the deal is the moral that "God (and we, by extension) helps [only] those who help themselves."

I'm saying in this post that 1) I've been guilty of assuming that most of us Christian conservatives (with exceptions; most of them personal friends, and I mentioned a couple in the post) think this way, and 2) I might be wrong. :-)

However, as I saw glaringly during the Obama campaign, American society seems to be swinging to the perspective that the government should be to hurting people what the Church (and Jesus, through the Church) should be to them. I submit that this is because the Church has not been representing -- and being -- Jesus Christ correctly to the world in a physical as well as a spiritual way.

But God directed me straight into three totally separate situations this evening that made me extremely happy -- the Church doing those things I just said it hasn't been doing. This is one of those times when being wrong is great!

(Wow, I rambled all over that response. I expect someone to comment and say, "Hey, Dean, you contradicted yourself 14 times in there...")

Preston N said...

Sorry I am getting in on the tailend of the discussion here. Something to ponder. God does have a government of His own and it is one that we as Christ followers are required to live under both here on earth and in eternity - its known as the "Moral Government of God" or as Jesus would say "The Kingdom of God is......".

The thing to consider here is God governs moral beings with the least amount of "laws" or governance as morally possible. Think about it. God simply summarizes up his laws by one word - LOVE. Yes, there are 10 basic laws he has specifically given us to obey, but we obey all 10 when we simply do the one - Love him supremely.

The founders of this country based our Constitution on this very premise - that moral freewill agents are best governed with the least amount of laws - given that the laws that are provided are based upon the benevolence of God and his fellow man. This is why we are a republic and a nation founded upon natural law and Moral Laws of God. The founding fathers knew that to Love God supremely would require the least amount of governance and yield the highest good for all.

The problem we have with Obama is he is instituting more and more laws (tyranny) as because most liberals do not believe in freewill or natural law - but they have a distorted image of man and that is he is nothing more than an animal (this is a direct result of evolution being taught in all higher learning institutions) and that we live as a result of determinism or "instinct". In otherwords man is fated and can not make moral choices upon his own. Therefore, the intellectuals and elite (or should I say "enlightened") feel that in order to get man to be benevolent one must do so, not through "Godly Benevolence" or moral influence, but through force or tyranny. This is the very heart of socialism.....

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