Monday, October 24, 2016

On Engaging The World

I have been thinking in some detail about the matter I spoke of last week, of the relative absence of the Church in this year's election cycle - really, in this culture.  Really.  I know we believe that somehow we have managed to finally overtake that whole 1950's image problem we were accused of dragging around with us, but I realized over the weekend that this is simply is not the case.

Ask yourself:  is the culture becoming more holy, more Christ-like, improved?  Or not?  Not with your particular issue in question (yes, I know we all have them) but the culture as a whole?  If not, then, like salt that has lost its savor, we have failed in our task - and are pretty much should be on the "Damaged Goods" table in the grocery store along with the dented pineapple and the hot sauce with no heat.

Generally speaking (yes, I know there are always exceptions - and some good ones) we have continued to accommodate ourselves to the culture - really American Culture - so well and so uncritically that we have become (for the most part) indistinguishable from it, because we refused to pass everything through the grid of the Word of God.  We let their motivations become our motivations, their causes become our causes, their interpretations become our interpretations - and lost any chance we had of making an impact.

In short friends, we have a problem.  The good news is, there is a solution.

We simply need to stop worrying about the world.

Oh, I know - we live in the world. And yes, we should be intimately involved in the world.  God made it.  Christ was in it.  That I know of, God (in the Old Testament) and Christ (in the New Testament) never said "Be holy, be saved - and completely ignore the world around you."  We live in environments and economies and governments all of which are made of up people, including us.  And those things need to be attended to as fully as anything else we do (after all - not my original thought, but the best of any individuals or fields in culture have much right to be Christian as they do for anything else).

No, where we need to stop worrying about the world is in how we live and how we conduct ourselves.

The world is not our friend.  Never has been, really.  It loves the fact that we are so accommodating to it, easing natures subconsciously guilty of sin and making gradations in our own mind of the seriousness of sins.  We have graded them, frankly, bases not on what God's word says but on what we feel it should say.  We are actually doing it's work for it, comforting the sinful and tearing down other Christians who are not living as God says we should.  The old adage "If your enemy is destroying themselves, get out of the way" was never more in play than here.

And as not -our-friend, the world will keep us only up to the point that we are useful, and then stick the shiv in.   Many, many churches are going to be sadly surprised some day when they suddenly find their "friends" on the outside, with whom they have had many lovely conversations and delightful tete-a-tetes, are suddenly rolling over them with the surety of a steam roller because they are "Christian".

We just need to accept this.

Accept it.  Accept that the world will not, if you living as God has called us, ever really like you or embrace you.  Accept that - now, in this culture - there is nothing short of an actual revival (not the pretend ones some like to speak of) that will make that true.

It means work.  It means digging even deeper into the Word of God for knowledge and strength, praying with fervency, training our minds - and our bodies - to be excellent intellectual defenders of the Gospel and to have the stamina to go along with it.  We need to ask the hard questions.  We need to have the logical frame of mind to engage others in the predictable consequences of policies and the inherent discrepancies therein (I honestly believe this has become one of the greatest weaknesses the Church Apologetic has).

Worry not, friends, that the world will never support or accept your Christian beliefs.  It never really intended to.  Do worry that you are enabling the world continue its action instead of challenging it.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

2 comments:

LindaG said...

All I can think to say is, Amen.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thanks Linda. I really wish the Church would get about its business.