The church in post-Christian America


American culture has become vastly post-Christian.

Even though churches are found on nearly every corner, the Christians of America have little impact on the culture of America. Most of the Christian political activists still operate with the worldview and methods of the Religious Right of the 1980s. In contrast, younger generation activists target social injustice issues of our day. Neither is impacting the culture in a sustainable manner.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. The battle is never won because the Christians believe themselves to be victims of the secularists’ agenda. We do not know who we are and are thus ineffective in being who we are supposed to be. We attack from outside because we rarely venture inside the world. We believe we are in the world and not of it, because we work with non-Christians or because we mingle at the same shopping malls. But we keep what we really see as “the world” at arm’s length.

We become overly offended by the Christian pet peeve issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

However, if we truly understood the travesty of sin, we would be moved with compassion rather than offense. Even as Jesus hung on the cross, beaten and bruised, and humiliated before all, He asked the Father to forgive those who had done this to Him.

It seems we confuse a 20th century American ideal of “rights” with Christianity. We have come to think we have a “right” not to be persecuted. In the American sense, this is true. But in the Christian sense, Jesus said, “Blessed are the persecuted.” We need to wrestle with the question of whether we protest as Americans or whether we accept persecution as Christians by turning the other cheek. This is probably a case by case, person by person matter in many instances. Remember, Jesus had done no wrong, and yet He resigned Himself to being led like a lamb to the slaughter to the greatest persecution; crucifixion.

Many believe the persecution of Christians is going to be experienced in greater measure in America.

Will we be those that count it as a blessing or a curse? Will we be victims or victors? Will we love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us? In what weapons will we trust? Our life may depend upon us using our spiritual arsenal of weapons which are not to be waged against flesh and blood.

Os Guinness makes an interesting observation in A Free People’s Suicide that with the rising threat of gun control legislation, Americans are making the 2nd Amendment into a disproportional primacy. Anytime something is abused or threatened the response is often to the opposite extreme which can lend itself to its own danger. Christians especially are focused on the necessity of arming ourselves. While the right to bear arms is a proven safeguard for national freedom, we need to be careful to keep all things in their proper measure of importance. Guns have no effect on the hearts and minds of people. They will not return culture to the virtue necessary to sustain freedom.

It’s time to truly become the salt and light of the earth.

We must know who we are and what our assignment is in this world. There are plenty of fires burning, and even more, people trying to douse them. What is missing are those trying to keep the fires from starting, by understanding the root issues and applying true wisdom and healing to the causes of the flames. For as long as we are distracted by the smoke and mirrors of the symptoms of our national problems, we will remain ineffective in bringing true restoration to our nation.

First and foremost, we need to stop using old methods of American Christianity and start looking for ancient solutions of the Bible. The two are not usually the same. If you see the problem the same way you did five years ago, you probably are not closer to seeing it more correctly. To really see something in its true nature is to see the problem in light of the solution. If we cannot see hope for America, we are blind to any solutions. In that event, look only at Jesus until you can see America as Jesus does.

The problems span before the current leadership of this nation.

When we blame one administration, or person, we fail to assume the proper responsibility necessary to make a difference. America is a government by the people and for the people, thus the greatest weight of responsibility is upon the people. When there was virtually no government in place the American people won a war that gave us independence and forged a government that sustained our freedom for centuries. We do not need to wait for someone with political power to act, for we can be the change one community at a time from sea to shining sea.

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