What’s Killing Christianity pt.2

Posted on March 18, 2013 by

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What’s Killing Christianity?

We are… more specifically Christian Subculture is killing our witness.

The more we fight for our rights not only do we seem petty compared to those truly suffering for their faith we are also blatantly disobeying the teaching of Jesus.

We do it because of idolatry. Three forms mainly; Greed for power, greed for money, and comfort.

When we worship power we will make every effort to increase our influence, and fight tooth and nail to defend the power we already have. So those that have made a name for themselves in the “Christian world” feel every political and societal encroachment as a personal attack, because they have to preserve their functional god at all costs. So we have politicians and media figures that dress up in gaudy self-righteousness and wield the power of Christendom like their own personal weapon to be aimed at whatever they think deserves their ire.

When money becomes our god, we go where we can make the most of it. And the Christian subculture is a veritable goldmine. It has its own music, TV, movies, books, radio, celebrities, comedians, and gossip. And to make your way into the industry you have to learn the formula which is to help people worship the next idol on the list. So we see people who jump from being a “shock-jock” on the radio to being a bestselling conservative “Christian” author and having his own long-running, now off the air, cable show, because that’s where the money is. We see “Christian” companies, which are usually just branches of other companies, use shoddy business practices to make and sell “christianese” everything.

Greed and Power are surely prevalent and drive the conversation across the country, but the driving idolatry is Comfort. It is the most accessible and epidemic.

When comfort is your idol there is a sense that any change is bad, and that your way of life needs to be preserved at all costs. The Christian subculture is a place where it is acceptable and easy to insulate yourself from the outside world. You can go from church meeting to church meeting to small group to bible study and never have to learn about what the rest of the world is doing. This has been common practice for religious people from the very beginning. The Essenes, a Jewish sect, cloistered themselves away to fight the influence of the worldly Jews. Some groups of Monks and Nuns have historically drawn away to avoid the distraction of the secular world. Today we see less cloisters and more self-imposed bubbles. We create a life that doesn’t touch the non Christian world. And when that is threatened people strike out like a cornered animal. It has also become an assumption that if you are really a Christian you should know all about the Christian subculture. Because that is what being a follower of Jesus is to a large group of Americans, a cultural identity and not much more.

The thing is, while some people know what they are doing as they manipulate Christian subculture to get their idol, some people honestly believe that all of this is honoring to God. That Christian music, as long as it mentions Jesus or is produced by a Christian label, is what God wants or better yet expects. But when a mediocre band writes a mediocre song about Jesus that lacks musical skill and has lyrics that are intellectually shallow, God is not pleased. The same goes for Movies, Books, etc…

Part of the problem is that we don’t look past the label or the “Jesus quota”. The other part is that we’ve become too nice. In church culture there is a great aversion to being critical of someone who is “putting their heart into” something. We so much want people to feel good about themselves(maybe if we protect their bubble they’ll protect ours) that we’ve convinced ourselves it’s OK to lie and tell people that they are “gifted” at things that they aren’t.  Not only does this proliferate mediocrity and lower the standards of what are acceptable gifts of worship over time.  It actually hurts the person doing the thing, and local church they are a part of. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ.  And when we encourage people into something that is not where they are gifted we are pushing them away from where God would have them serve, where they would have the greatest impact for the kingdom of God. And through that impact feel the most fulfilled in their service.

It’s through that mutual bubble guarding that we have created industries that some truly gifted artists want nothing to do with. We have come to fighting for our mediocrity so hard that the world we are trying to reach looks at our faith as petty and weak compared to that of our brothers and sisters suffering and dying for their faith. We have accepted a tepid, impotent, lukewarm version of this beautiful, powerful, passionate faith. And it’s time we decided to spit it out and walk in the long-suffering we are called to.

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Posted in: Praxis, Theology