Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is God's Love Enough For Us?

There’s something troubling about the way we live our lives these days. Last night at a local restaurant we sat next to a family of four that didn't speak a word to each other. Each one was pressing buttons on a hand-held electronic device, in communication with someone else, but totally absent from each other. We just don't take time to be present anymore. Everything we do has such a frantic quality - the way we shop, the way we travel, the way we treat each other, even the way we entertain ourselves. A family of four will fight traffic and the elements and spend close to $1,000 to see an NFL game in an economic downturn. We seem to have a deep need that isn’t being met which is causing us to fill our lives with busy-ness and clutter, as if we could, as Kierkegaard put it, “hold chaos at bay for one more day”. The Church tells us we have a God who's love is sufficient, but is it? If so, why do we have such a compulsive need for fulfillment and validation from the world? There must be something the Church isn't telling us. For some reason we're not understanding the fullness of God’s love. Either that or something is keeping us from receiving it. It’s been several months since I’ve written because I’ve been told to take a break from finding fault with the Church. But the bible tells us to examine ourselves to see if we’re in the faith. The question is, What is it we have put our faith in?

I’ve said it before and I need to say it again. If the Mind of Christ was being modeled by more of us in the Body of Christ there would be no problem, and I wouldn’t be looking to create one. If church attendance was a more deeply satisfying experience, if believers were leading joyful and victorious lives, if the blind were seeing and the lame walking… if there weren't so many men in church addicted to internet porn.

The truth is, our faith tradition has resulted in a powerless church, an apathetic community of believers, and a prevailing disappointment for many who are seeking transformation by the power of God. Joy may be glimpsed from time to time, only to be stolen by the routine of daily living. Most of us have decided to accept this deeply flawed routine because we don’t have a vision for anything else. We've been told we're sinners and all we can do is wait for Jesus and hope for the grace of God which we don’t deserve. We don’t question this belief because it's all we have, and when our world is threatening to turn upside down we need something to hold on to. 

And so we accept our Mega-church pastors who drive luxury cars and live in luxury estates,  then preach on Sunday what Jesus said about not needing a second pair of sandals. We’re no longer appalled by politicians who smile while they lie to us, saying whatever it takes to advance their objectives and ignoring what Jesus said about letting your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' be 'No'”. It doesn’t bother us that the church condemns abortion by proclaiming the Word of God and the sanctity of human life, then looks the other way while our sons and daughters go off to kill other peoples' sons and daughters who understand God differently than we do. It’s easy enough to overlook what Jesus said about who our brother is, and how we should love our enemies. We’ve learned to rationalize all this stuff so completely we don’t even have to notice it anymore. Meanwhile the hypocritical and self-serving life we live is becoming harder and harder to satisfy us.

I recently decided to go back and read the stories about Jesus in the New Testament again in hopes that some new revelation would come, but I just found the same thing I saw last time. It's amazing how the truth of it can continue to escape us. We don’t have the life Jesus said we could have, because we don’t do the things Jesus said we should do. Could something as clear as that be the stumbling block that keeps us from finding fulfillment in God's love? Is that the reason real contentment seems to be escaping us? I need to look at this more fully someday, but there's one thing I know already. The Church has put so much emphasis on the atoning Death of Christ we forget about the victorious Life of Jesus. Like a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, we carry his Cross down the wide road to the Good Life he told us not to take. It's a lot easier to worship God from there than it is to walk in the footsteps of one who said, “Follow me”. 

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