Friday, February 11, 2011

Stupid "Christians"

There is a guy from my church, Living Waters. He has a real heart for the people of Nepal & Tibet. He spends most of the year over there ministering to those folks. He is slowly, but surely, working his way into living over there for the rest of his life. (Such is the burden that the Holy Spirit has lain upon his heart.) He loves those people, and he wants them to know Jesus.

His name is Bobby, and he has some amazing stories to tell. We live in relative comfort and ease, here in the West. More often than not, we miss the obvious spiritual warfare that is going on all around us. Bobby gets to see it up close and personal. Like I said, he has some amazing stories to tell.

Unfortunately, Bobby has been going about it all wrong. Bobby has been telling the people of Nepal & Tibet all of the wrong stuff. Telling them a little about Jesus is nice, but it certainly isn't enough. Jesus is just kind of a starting place for what really matters. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself.

Thank you, Bryan Fischer, for those words of wisdom.

BTW: I stumbled across this video thanks to a new blog I follow.

All this time, both Bobby & I believed that what we, as Believers, were supposed to be telling people about was Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us on the cross. We thought that we were supposed to tell them about the Grace that God has extended through this voluntary sacrifice that Jesus made. We figured that if people could see how much God loves them, wants to forgive & cleanse them, and wants all people to repent and become his children, that this was enough.

Neither of us had any idea that the people of Nepal & Tibet...or for that matter, people EVERYWHERE also needed to become a part of "MainstreamA merican Culture." I had no idea that being a part of middle class America was evidence of true faith. Obviously I missed that when reading through the Gospels. Then again, maybe Paul touched on it in one of his Epistles. (I tend to read the Gospels more than the rest of the N.T., so I could have easily overlooked that.)

I only know a handful of Indigenous People...a couple of Lakota & Ojibwe folks. I know a decent amount about American history. All this time, I was pretty sure that the main reason for poverty on reservations was due to a perpetual shafting by the federal government, a rather nasty history of abuse, lies and neglect by the general population against indigenous folks, and very few economic opportunities on the various reservations. (Honestly, how would you like it if there were a "Bureau of Swedish Affairs" that told you and your Granny what you could build on the land they had lived on for ages & ages?)

To be fair, with in a short drive from my home are the Mystic Lake & Prairie Island casinos. Both are on Dakota reservations. Due largely to these casinos, the populations of these reservations have become rather wealthy & affluent. In fact, many are considerably better off than the white suburbanites that surround them. They have achieved the "American Dream," and then some. Yet, oddly enough, most of them are not "Christians." Then again, maybe they are, according to Mr. Fischer.

Now listen, I'm not going to make excuses for any other faith that stands as an alternative to the Gospel of Christ. When Jesus said that he was "The way, the truth and the life," he meant it! But that also means that there is no excuse for the "Americanized Christianity" that we see in our mainstream culture.

I would argue that if Jesus walked through the average American mall, he would not see the blessings of Christianity. What he WOULD see is rampant, pagan idolatry. He would see many folks who say that they are called by his name, bowing down to the one-eyed god on the little pyramid on our dollar bills. He would see people going to the temple of Best Buy to offer sacrifices to the god of technology. He would see altars made of comfortable cushions in the shapes of recliners for worshippers to pay homage to the gods of entertainment.

Now, am I saying that affluence or a life of not having to worry about where your next meal is coming from a bad thing??? Absolutely not! I would wish that every person could attaint a life without "Want." But neither myself, nor anyone else, should be fooled into thinking that this is a result OF, or a condition FOR, following Jesus. Jesus had no interest what so ever in a persons "Class Status" when it came to being a disciple. It IS pretty obvious that Jesus/God paid, and still pays, particular attention to the poor, though.

Actually, it could easily be argued that being poor makes it simpler to follow Jesus. The bible points out over & over again that wealth can easily distract from a daily need FOR and dependence ON God. Something in human nature blinds us so easily to that need, and the quickest one always seems to be money.

One of the things that makes me break out in hives and itch all over very quickly is our propensity to create God in our own image. The American church is extremely good at this. Rather than letting Christ confront and impact the culture at large, we have allowed the church to be co-opted by the culture. At present, most Americans seem to think that being a Christian and being an American are one and the same. (This is a "Christian" country after all.) And we do all of this at our own peril.

Any Believer in any country had better keep their eyes open. God created us in his image. To turn around and re-create him to fit any given situation is deadly. To reduce the God of the bible to some icon to be used like some measuring stick for acceptance, or good luck charm, is a very convenient idolatry. Christ will have no part of this, and judgment will surely follow.

Jesus is NOT an American, and you shouldn't try to force his gospel into an American mold. Neither is Jesus Canadian, Japanese or Russian. He isn't Nepalese of Tibetan either. (Which my friend, Bobby, understands very well.)

Jesus is the visible image of God. Do NOT try and reduce him. If you do, you might as well just get a little bobble-head of him, and stick him in your car.