I am not a prophet. I cannot read the future. I am not a “doomsday” guy either. By that I mean I am not always bemoaning the fact that things are getting progressively worse and obsessing over a negative view of culture. But in light of some recent, very public and polarizing events in America, I feel safe in making a simple observation. I believe in the years to come, those who adhere to a biblical/Christian worldview in America are going to find themselves progressively marginalized in society. They will be characterized as antiquated and out of touch with modern culture. They will be portrayed as intolerant, judgemental racists. They will be viewed as homophobic, right wingers who are to be ostracized and ignored. I mean this is already starting to happen right? Well I have two thoughts on this matter (not that my opinion matters but hey I have a right to share it too right? ) and my thoughts may not be mainstream (read that as “May offend some”).
Observation #1- This may not be a bad thing.
I know, I know, bear with me. Here’s the deal- I have a confession to make. Some of you may not be aware of it…but I am a little overweight. I am not happy with this situation and it has been a struggle of mine for some time. I know it is unhealthy…I can feel it is unhealthy. I could stand to regularly consume less food and to exercise. Just a thought- maybe the American church is fat! I mean we have supposedly always been a “Christian” nation right? For generations we have lived in a culture that mostly values religious endeavor and many were born with the idea that they were a Christian from day one and have always felt like they should at least “be in church” because it is well…what they are supposed to do. The point of this is not necessarily to question whether a large number of people who attend Christian churches in America are actually Christians…although I would see that as a valid question. It is to bring to mind the idea that maybe the church in America has had it easy for far too long and maybe that has contributed to a lazy, lethargic brand of Christianity that is somewhat impotent. I know I need to be less of a consumer of food…maybe Christians in America need to feel a little hunger? I know I could transform some of this fat to muscle with some effective resistance training…could the American church stand a little of that as well?
Observation #2- I hope the culture isn’t right about us.
My worst fear is that we are or are becoming judgemental, homophobic, angry, racist, polarizing people who are all to ready to shout at the darkness around them…but not willing to engage it for the sake of the kingdom! I pray that all of the accusations made against Christians currently in the public arena are truly false. I am concerned that Christianity in America has been hijacked by politics and those on both sides simply use Jesus to make a point and argue their case. When the primary motive of our Christianity is to win debates and arguments, instead of sharing the love of Christ with the gospel, then we certainly should expect the accusations to follow. I pray that is not who we are as it would be such a great hindrance to the cause of Christ.
So what? What can those of us…who have a sincere love for Christ and for people do in times like this? Well quite a few things…but here is what I am reminding myself.
1- Know who you are and why you believe the way you do. Pursue Christ as the center of your life and faith and lean into His sovereignty over the current situation. This is not taking Him by surprise and He will accomplish His work through it. Be anchored in your hope in Christ…as the storms may become more frequent. Trim the fat in your faith! 🙂 Move to being more of a giver…than a consumer!
2- Lead with love. Let your words and actions be seasoned with grace. Give no foothold to the accusations that may be leveled against you. Practice hospitality. Learn what it truly means to “turn the other cheek”. Let the love of Christ dwell in you richly and be ministers of reconciliation not division. Strive to find ways to love others more than to simply make our theological points! I have heard very few testimonies of people who were argued into faith in Christ.
3. Be prepared to sacrifice. To do any of the above in a culture that is hostile to the faith will require great sacrifice from you. Be ready and willing to lay down your life (wants, needs and rights) for the sake of the gospel. Understand we are no longer in a “Christian nation” (if we ever were), as Christ is not defined by national boundaries nor is He a member of a political party or system. We are citizens of a greater kingdom and we are missionaries and missionaries are willing to give up all they have to reach others with the gospel.
Duck Dynasty was probably just small fries to what may be ahead. But this we know…our God is still in control and on the throne and whatever He asks or requires of us we can enter into with the full knowledge that we are loved and cherished by Him and even if the culture takes everything away from us, marginalizes us and makes accusation against us…we will not be moved as our identity is found in Christ and Him alone. It’s time to hit the weights church!