Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Demographics Have Changed?


THE DEMOGRAPHICS 
HAVE CHANGED?

READ CAREFULLY:

Matt.23: 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that taketh from others, and votest against them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy unwanted children together, even as a job creator gathereth his empoyees, and ye would not!

Matt.9: 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with consternation on them, because they had no industriousness, and were changing the demographics, as workers having no job.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The job market truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the President of the company, that he will send forth regional managers into the middle class.

Jn.4: 34 Jesus saith unto them, My goal is to hire enough cheap labor so I can finish the work and receive a large parachute buyout.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh a profit? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the consumers; for they are no longer white but are still ready to reach with our products.
36 And he that closes deals receiveth wages, and gathereth funds in his 401k: that both he that oversees and he that invests may rejoice together.

**********
The old Indian Chief, a proud Iroquois, put his arm around his young son. As he looked over the landscape, he said, “Son, look how the demographics have changed in our country. It’s different than it used to be, and the culture is becoming much more white. But thankfully, the white man is going to provide for us a place where we can live.”

His son looked up at his father and asked, “Why can’t we stay where we are, Father?”

“Well, the white man now owns it.”

Later the history books would explain to our white children just how brave our ancestors were, and how God so blessed the white man that he was not only able to capture all the land, but how God helped the white man corral the Indians and send them to a piece of land they once roamed. It’s an amazing story. The “trail of tears” was an anomaly and was unfortunate and is not recorded in many history books.

**********

The old Tribal Chief in the Congo put his arm around his young son. As he looked over the landscape he said, “Son, look how the demographics have changed in our country. It’s different than it used to be, and the culture is becoming much more white. Many of our people have been taken to foreign lands, and now the white man has set up his own living places. But thankfully, the white man allows us to work for him.”

The son looked up at his father and asked, “Dad, will I ever be a chief?”

“No, son, we belong to the white man now.”

Later the history books would remain largely silent about the horror of African colonialism and oppression. But God had so blessed the white man that he was able to extricate gold and jewels from the Dark Continent, and use the black man to get it. It was unfortunate how many black people had to die during these exciting times of adventure and capitalism, but everything comes at a prices.

**********

The successful American white man sat in church and waited for the service to begin. He put his arm around his young son. As he gazed at the vaulted ceiling and enjoyed the air conditioned ambiance, he said, “Son, look how the demographics have changed in our country. It is much different than it used to be, and the culture is becoming less and less white. I do not even recognize my own country anymore. The moochers and freeloaders are taking over, and what we built in the 1950’s is almost gone. The labor our ancestors sacrificed to take this land from the Indians and make it our own, and the labor our ancestors sacrificed to go and get African slaves to help us build it even greater, is now only a fond memory.”

The son looked up at his father and asked, “Dad, can I have an I-Pad because the screen on my I-Phone is too small?”

“Sure son, why didn’t you tell me before? We’ll go together and get one right after the football game. I can’t wait to see how our new running back does. What’s his name…that black kid from UCLA? Never mind, he’s going to do well for our team.”

The curtain opens and the dad and his family stand to worship Jesus. It is a wonderful and uplifting tradition.

**********

The church, as it is traditionally called, no longer sees sinners like Jesus sees sinners. Most of the evangelical church in America sees the populace in the same way in which the heathen see people. Companies and politicians and talk show hosts see the human landscape in terms of demographics. They see ethnicity and color. They see who is most productive and therefore has value, and who is not productive and is therefore worthless and even a weight upon the economy. Instead of weeping over their souls the church now expresses anger over their lethargy. Instead of redemption the church joins the voices of condemnation.

This is no longer an anomaly. This is now standard and accepted practice. Oh yes, there are people who abuse the welfare system, and people who refuse to work, and people who steal for a living, and all kinds of lazy people who walk this life and take advantage of the system on many levels. They certainly are out there. The New Testament calls them sinners in need of a Savior. I realize it is hard to love them. I realize they are irritating and grate on our financial nerves. I realize it isn’t fair to the hard working among us. I realize all of that. But I also realize that I am called to follow Jesus, and that should, that must change everything.

Oh I sometimes feel the frustration when I see people like the ones I have mentioned. And when I hear the talk show voices put it in economic perspectives I can feel my flesh begin to rise. Yes, I am like you. Whoever I lend my ears to I open my heart to as well. It isn’t fair that people refuse to work or manipulate the system or take welfare or unemployment when they shouldn’t. Yep, I can easily get frustrated and feel a sense of condemnation begin to rise. As I said, I am like you.

But I cannot enjoy those fallen fruits for long. I wish I could forget what Jesus said. I wish I could forget how the apostles gave their lives for people just like those. I wish I had not read Foxes Book of Martyrs. I just wish I could freely judge and condemn and stand upon a platform of self righteousness and while I sing the praises of my own labor I could point to the lethargy of others and receive applause. I honesty know how good it feels to condemn others and to point out things that essentially are true, and use that as a platform to both castigate others and elevate myself. I really do know how good that can feel. And my flesh is very adept at such things.

But since I have promised to follow Jesus, I just can’t seem to wipe away the things He said and did from my memory. And even more uncomfortable, I just cannot forget what Jesus has done for me even though I was every bit as undeserving as the most shiftless, lazy miscreant among us. I just cannot forget the words of the song To God be the Glory when it says,

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.


And when I hear the words “vilest offender” I can only think of me. You see, I wish I could give way to me flesh with impunity, but the delights of my flesh are only temporary and even when I think I have enjoyed a fleshly harvest I soon must repent. Yes, to give way to my flesh continues to be a fools errand that sometimes still makes way for a fool. But now I hear believers and even preachers all over say things about people and lost sinners which I could never say, and I wonder how they can enjoy those words. I wonder where they have purchased a license from Jesus to feel that way about the lost. I wonder if all these years I have read the words of Jesus and the narrative of His life and not understood the English language. Perhaps I have understood them much too literally, and perhaps they have always been designed to be a helpful appendage to the inner workings of a fallen culture. Perhaps they are utopian and should never be forced upon His believers.

Yes, the demographics have changed on the outside, but the hearts of men are still the same. White, black, brown, yellow, red, and everything else are just exterior paint but which do not reveal the common ground we all share. We are all sinners and we all need Christ. Once we take our eyes and hearts off that truth, even for a moment, we are doomed to return to the swine trough from which we came. Once we find ourselves seeing and saying things the way any segment of the culture sees and says things, then we have left following Christ. I know, the path is inconvenient and at times very, very hard. The flesh presses us for outlets and our ears and eyes long to see things they way they are on earth and not the way He sees them in the Spirit.

But we have no choice. And I will also reveal something else. Like you, I have sometimes given way to my flesh and have temporarily enjoyed its forbidden fruit. Sometimes I realize what I am doing, and sometimes I have been blind to my sin. But regardless of how much fallen pleasure my flesh has enjoyed in those moments, when the Spirit convicts my heart, and when He illuminates me to my own sin and pride, something glorious begins to happen. Oh it isn’t pleasurable at first, but as the Spirit moves within me I am brought low. I see what I should have seen to begin with. I am ashamed as my fig leaves are removed. I experience deep regret. I am ushered into repentance by His amazing power and there the Spirit performs His miracle working ministry.

I am forgiven and I am cleansed from all unrighteousness. Now it is impossible to convey with words all the feelings that floods one’s souls when you are forgiven and cleansed by your Father and Lord and through the power of the Spirit. Undeserving? You better know it. Had I ever done the same thing before? Oh please. Does God know I may stumble again? He’s God, remember? But the healing balm that runs like hot oil within your being is an experience like none other. And suddenly I open my eyes and see things and people once again as He saw them, primarily from the vantage point of Calvary’s hill.

And when I see that battered, bloodied body, and when I hear that voice that asked forgiveness for His killers, I am undone. Any semblance of self righteousness has been removed. How can I condemn even the most grievous sinners among us when I have come to realize like Paul that I AM the chief of all sinners? Go ahead and present you credentials of self worth. Go ahead and pad your résumé. Go ahead and compare yourself with others. Go ahead, but it will profit you nothing. If you have been made a partaker of the heavenly gift through faith then you have no credentials but His. And your résumé is His. And any praise and any honor you receive must all go to Him. You have now entered a kingdom where there are no demographics. No male, no female, no white, no black, no gay, not straight, only sinners redeemed by His blood, change by His power, but sill completely in need of His grace each and every day.

And if you truly meditate and understand the depth and scope of such truths, you can never condemn and judge with reckless impunity. Yes, you are drowning in the sea of His grace. Do not fight it and do not ask for a life preserver. Just let yourself sink in that sea of grace and die. And the next time you open your eyes a miracle will have occurred. They are no longer your eyes, and your mind is no longer yours. He now lives in and through you and the man who drowned has been left at the bottom of the sea. You are in Him and He is in you. But you will soon notice something quite astonishing. You hear and see and understand and act and speak remarkably different than what is generally accepted in the culture and even in the church. But do some sentry duty. If you once again begin to see and hear and speak the way you used to, then sound the alarm! Run quickly to that same sea of God’s grace, jump in it once again, and drown once more. By advised, you may have to do that daily, and in my experience, I have had to do that more than once on some days.

“Look, the demographics have change.”

No they haven’t…you have changed.

1 comment:

Rick Kincaid said...

It is like you have been able to see into the depths of my heart.

Great work!