Unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard about the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage and on Obamacare.
If my Facebook feeds are anything to go by, I should expect doomsday probably tomorrow – maybe Wednesday if I’m lucky.
Fingers point at the Supreme Court Justices’ 5-4 decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states as a marker of the decline of America and the values the country was founded upon. While I certainly don’t agree with the ruling – and I could go into a long discourse about the fact that the Supreme Court majorly overstepped their bounds – blaming everyone else isn’t really the answer.
Instead of looking at everyone else, I’d like to gently suggest that maybe Christians should start looking a little closer to home for the problem. The Supreme Court decision is a symptom of a much greater problem and that problem resides within the walls of our churches.
Like a driver who gets sleepy on the road, we’ve fallen asleep at the proverbial wheel, gone left of center and only the blare of an oncoming truck has jerked us, startled and alarmed, from that sleep.
We can point our fingers at the sin outside the church – and yes, the Bible clearly states that acting on homosexuality is wrong – but there are a lot of things we, as believers, participate in every day that are wrong, too.
Instead of focusing on winning the lost and meeting the needs of the least of these, most American churches are very comfortable meeting their own needs. Needs like the color of the carpet or the song number that the choir sings or latest technology or the perfect activity.
While none of those things are wrong in and of themselves, we’ve lost sight of the big picture. The majority of new church members are people moving from other churches – often because something at that other place rubbed them the wrong way. Young adults are leaving churches by the droves – mainly because they don’t really see the point.
And they might just be right.
Our churches have become consumer-driven, just like the rest of society. We are all about our members, our activities, our wants and our preferences. We’ve nodded off when it comes to the main purpose of God’s Church.
Instead of being a place where people meet together to encourage each other, to learn from each other, to love each other well so we can then go back into our culture and share Christ’s love and the good news of the Gospel, church is often no better than a spiritualized country club whose main purpose seems no bigger than the next activity rather than being a light in a dark world.
I’m not pointing fingers. I struggle every day with what it means to live in the world but not of it. There have not just been days, but weeks, months and even years where my agenda and my to do list have taken center stage. When, as Dante puts it, I’ve been “lost in the wilderness of daily cares.”
When life is comfortable and persecution mainly consists of nasty comments on your blog, it’s easy to lose sight of the great spiritual battle that is being waged every day for billions of souls.
So, I want to ask you what I’m asking myself:
When was the last time you shared the Gospel with someone?
When was the last time you made a sacrifice for the Gospel – maybe skipped the expensive vacation, latest iPhone or the cable upgrade so that someone could go to a place where they had never heard of Jesus?
When was the last time you spent time on your knees in prayer for the needs around you?
When was the last time you dug into your Bible because you wanted to hear from Jesus?
Do you really know Jesus or just about Him?
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone or inconvenienced yourself to meet someone’s legitimate needs in the name of Jesus?
We talk so much about losing our religious freedoms, but how often do we even use them? Trust me when I say I am yanking the log out of my own eye as I write this, before I mess with the speck in yours.
During the time of the Roman Emperor Julian, the love Christians showed the pagan world around them that wanted to kill them was astonishing. The emperor was frustrated because that love was drawing so many to Christ that it was foiling his own attempts to revive the ancient pagan religion. He wrote these words about the “atheists” (in reference to Christians who did not believe in the Roman gods):
“Atheism (i.e. Christian faith) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well, while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”
Can anyone say that about us? Or are we more like the pagans?
A “good” Christian life doesn’t consist of attending church and occasionally reading our Bibles. It’s not avoiding a list of specific sins while going about our own business, always putting ourselves and our families first.
We’ve fallen asleep at the wheel and we’ve drifted dangerously left of center. I hope the Supreme Court decision is the blaring horn that finally wakes us all up because the decline of America can’t be laid at the feet of the liberals or the media or the gay community.
It sits squarely on the doorsteps of our churches where the people coming and going are indistinguishable from the culture around them.
What will you do differently?