Sunday, August 31, 2014

We the People and the Pursuit of Happiness - II

and the

Chapter Two

Part of the problem is the apathetic and ambivalent lives of much if not most of the evangelical community. That does not mean people do not get interested and even excited about things, but mostly about other things than a sacrificial and self denying pursuit of Jesus. It seems like a colossal paradox to suggest that those who profess Christ do not seek Him in any substantial way. For the most part professing believers assign their church membership and participation as the ultimate sign that they are born again believers.

But the evangelical church that lives in America is distinctly American and pays allegiance to the country in which they live. And we have been taught such things since birth. But why is that true? The answer is simple and embarrassing and is generally two fold. First people do not scour the Scriptures to find out who Jesus is and what He teaches. They rely on preachers and the influence of the ecclesiastical community to form their belief system. Secondly people are in debt to a culture which has afforded them material gain and a comfortable lifestyle. And so they have woven America into the Biblical narrative going so far as to insist a divine beginning and a continuing divine favor for this particular country. And an unholy amalgam has been created which embraces the fallen and rejects the sacred.

Please be aware that a church’s statement of faith is meaningless these days. You can say anything and contend that you believe it. And you can embrace all the so called “cardinal” doctrines of the faith and still your focus and practices deny the entire thing. Most pastors wield earthly and organizational power while Paul said he was the offscouring of the world. The entire construct is antithetical to all Jesus taught and lived. And yet this same ecclesiastical structure claims His name. It is a monstrous deception.

To be sure the western evangelical community is empowered by “we the people” and the “pursuit of happiness”. And although these two phrases are carnal and without the Spirit, the church people do not, and cannot, see them for what they are. An enemy has come in with stealth and sown tares among the wheat of God’s Word, and now the church bears chains they believe are of God when in fact they have imprisoned the masses. It is impossible to explain the color red to a blind man, but how much more impossible when he thinks he already knows?

Happiness is a shallow word. It implies a human emotion which can come from all kinds of sources. People are happy watching a ball game or a television show or receiving a raise at work and a million other things. And the fallen heart seeks happiness. It does not seek Christ. It does not seek the spiritual welfare of others. It seeks its own happiness and when it finds it then it incorporates it into its religion. Let us be perfectly honest. Most believers look over the fence and see the unbelievers having a wonderful party and they become envious and begin to rationalize their own practices. And let us be even more honest here. Most professing believers do not really even believe in heaven or hell and therefore live their lives with a thin veneer of religion and hope they arrive in heaven if there is even such a place. But while they are on earth they desire and lust after their own happiness.

In the end there is a religion whose stated beliefs do very little to alter their lives. Sacrifice and self denial are rejected, and as long as people claim to be pro-life and anti-gay marriage they can claim to be followers of Jesus. Morality and patriotism have replaced a surrendered and crucified life. Seeking moral battles has replaced being a humble witness for Jesus. Instead of loving your enemies they can castigate them. Brokenness is weakness. Humility is compromise. But in general the religion called “Christianity” is a set of beliefs without a living sacrifice.

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