If we ask ourselves what the greatest danger in America is today, I’m sure we would get all kinds of answers:
• Loss of Liberty
• Pandemic Diseases
• Domestic Terrorism
• Police Brutality
All of these and more could easily be designated as the greatest dangers facing America today. However, allow me to add something that is never on the list of dangerous things to avoid.
America has more Christians than any other religion and Judeo-Christian Values have been the bedrock of our social structure of laws since our inception as a Nation. This, of course, has been changing over the past 3 or 4 decades, and Christian Values have eroded to where they are not often found in society today as a whole. Christianity is a sub-culture of religious people who believe in God and go to Church. The Church, in general, is marginalized and tolerated but not considered an essential player among those who are considered thought leaders today.
During the recent quarantine, it was interesting to note that Churches were mandated to be closed longer than any other place where groups of people would gather. Planned Parenthood, liquor stores, strip clubs, and big box stores were all considered essential and remained open to the public during the quarantine. In fact, if you Google all the essential businesses and services that were considered essential and could remain open, it really punished the smaller retail stores, restaurants, gyms, and Churches. It’s amazing how many people kept working and how many places of businesses were open because of their essential status. This to me was a strange way to be quarantined.
The perimeters of society that have protected all of us have been slowly pushed into territory that we have never been before … defunding police departments, and protesters taking over sections of an American City and calling it a separate country. Then there was a Black Lives Matter leader on the Sunday TV news circuit telling other Americans that if they as a movement don’t get what they want, they will burn everything down. This is all anarchy, and it seems Americans have grown passive to it all. As an example, officials in Minneapolis allowed rioters to burn businesses down along the Lake Street corridor, including a police station, all the while telling the citizens of Minneapolis, that this is what the rioters need to do to grieve. Is this how we now grieve? By destroying private and public property?
The greatest danger in America is our passivity to lawlessness and our passivity in the Church with a weak watered-down message:
Psalm 144:1 Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.
Let me ask you something. Was there anything Jesus Taught that wasn’t radical to His hearers? What part of His Message was not radical and counter-cultural? The Teachings of Christ were not only life changing … they were introducing us to a radical way of living. To Forgive, to Love our enemies, to be a Servant, to go into all the world with His Message, and to be as harmless as doves but as shrewd as serpents.
I started to read the Gospels again through the lens of seeing Jesus as a radical, counter-cultural leader who was not afraid to tell the authorities of His Day that they were completely misguided (Matthew 23). Where is that Message today? The pulpit in America is cowardly and afraid to address issues that God is concerned about. Pastors generally will deal with themes that are relevant to their congregations, but that should be a secondary audience … the first audience is God! What does He see in our Churches or in our society that needs His Attention? I heard Dennis Prager say the other day that we don’t make moral or reasonable decisions anymore … decisions are all decided by our emotions. I would add one more area of decision making that is not being done today, and that would be decisions that are based upon the Spiritual and Biblical Models we find in the Bible.
Why do I say we have weak Messages and passive pulpits? Because we don’t consider the Message of Jesus as a Radical Message. We are always trying to make Him fit into our world rather than us fitting into His World. I have heard it said my entire Christian life that Christians are to be Peacemakers and Healers working among people without Judgment. That may be true, but it’s only half the story. We are called to be Peacemakers and Healers of broken lives, but the Message of Jesus isn’t only about ministry … it is about our Commitment to Him … everything else pales in comparison.
Listen to what Jesus says:
Matthew 10 34Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36Your enemies will be right in your own household! 37If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Jesus does not want us to love this world or the things in the world … He wants us to Love Him first and foremost above all relationships. This is Radical, but it is also the True definition of Christianity and our greatest danger today is losing this Foundational Truth.
Our passivity in understanding this Radical Jesus has made us impotent and shallow, and as a result our Message to the world is hardly more than a nice homily of religious words.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
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