In preparing for this, John MacAuthor has a great article that I want to submit to your care. Below reflects a series of marks of cultural faith verses genuine faith. For the remainder of this summer, we will exam the 'proofs' of genuine faith together as families. After we spend some time in the Word, we will let you pray with your children and begin to ask "how can we "transmit" these values into our kids?"
Check out MacAuthor's link at http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/IA-genuinefaith.htm for some futher reading.
Grace and Peace!
My guess is that most of you have heard about the story about Miss California's stand for marriage. As well, you probably know about Perez Hilton's comment stating that she lost the pageant because of her views. The idea that comes out of popular culture is that you are out of touch with reality if you hold on to these values. At the same time, they (the culture makers)must not believe in their own values too much either? Recently, I read a statistic that reported that there are more dogs per household in Seattle, Washington than there are children. In other words, many couples are choosing not to have children at all. I started to ask myself why is this?
Why is it that people don't want to have children in a world
I deduced the possibility for one of two reasons. Do not hear me say that these are the only factors, there are no doubt other factors that play out the childbearing debate. First, young couples are just too selfish. That's right, I said it! We are so caught up in our vocations and education and the limited recreation time that is afforded from them, that my generation and younger are choosing not to have children. The popular culture says that family life can be delayed or can even be foregone. This is a sad truth because all to often I see this trend happening in the church. The bible calls us, if possible, to multiply and fill the earth. This is not just a physical command, it is spiritual command. To multiply and fill the earth is a command to spread the fame of our great God! In fifty years, Islam will be the dominate cultural force. Why? Because the current cultural elite have developed a self centered attitude and convinced their generations that children don't matter that much. Muslims are the only people have children...and they are having alot of them! The same will happen in America is evangelicals don't just say they believe in family values rather live it out.
There is positive side to this though and it coincides with my second thought on the childlessness of our culture. I asked a friend who was unbeliever about why he and his wife didn't want kids. His answer was interesting. They are scared! They are scared of the world they will leave their children. WOW! In other words, the evolved world in which we are so confident is becoming a better place is not actually becoming a better place. Since the Enlightenment, a period at which man was sure of his ability to bring about world transformation and rid himself of pain and evil, more people have died as a result of war, famine, and disease. If you believe that your values are producing a better future, then populate it!
So why am I encouraged. It is because even though many evangelical couples have been dooped by the popular culture, evangelicals as a whole are still have larger families. Its only a matter of time when a tipping point will occur and move culture back in the other direction.
What is the moral of this story? Christians need to get their heads out of the sand. We need to see the cultural landscape and take courage. We need to have more children and stop worrying about the American dream. We need to see the call of parenting to be a call for the Gospel. It is a mission trip...for eighteen years! Raising children is more than getting them through high school and getting the right opportunities in front of them so they can succeed in life. No, the PRIMARY call of a parent to raise children of Godly distinction. Love God and Love People for the glory of God! Chew on that.
Grace and Peace.
It is amazing to me how much of Christianity's identity has been skewed from its spiritual agenda and been focused on a lesser political or social agenda. I read a great article in Newsweek regarding the decline of Christianity in America (www.newsweek.com/id/192583 ). No matter how you slice it up, this is a regrettable situation we find ourselves in as evangelicals. Nonetheless, every Christian should be quick to listen to much of the article's points regarding Christianity's place with in our American culture. While not agreeing with every point mentioned in the article, I do believe their is much insight for evangelicals today as we continue to fight the good fight!
With the political shift that has taken place in the past six months, you would think that election was the cause of the decline is Christianity in America. Might I suggest another more logical reason. Jesus always had a suspicion of the governing authority. They had the ability to corrupt even the most naive of associates, but in the past thirty years, evangelicals have put almost their entire stock into the political system that now seems to have chewed us up and spit us out. What a surprise! Maybe one party, (not to name one) used us in some way to aid their political aspirations? Sure, there have been some strides in our "Christian" interests in Washington, but largely our "agenda" has been left untouched. Does this mean that Christians individuals should not participate and vote their values? By no means, that is beauty of our political machine, but beware when we associate divine authority with one political party or another! Power has the uncanny ability to corrupt!
But there is a larger problem I want to put my finger on. It has to do with our goals. Certainly, we want to see our culture maintain moral stability, but is the political system the way to do it? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In other words, maybe we have gotten it backwards. Legislating morality for a society does not have a lasting effect, evidenced in the rescinding of the Stem Cell research ban. Maybe the church needs a new cause...or maybe reclaim a very old cause. Biblically, mankind is on a path to complete corruption. Though this corruption is presently realized in each individual heart, it is further realized in time through the cultural values as it is lived out in individuals. In other words, changing peoples morality is a band aid. It is a quick fix, rather a temporary fix. The church is charged with displaying the glory and majesty of God and bringing people back into their original creative focus. Only reckoning people to Jesus Christ who will change their hearts will in turn change a people's behavior. Even then it takes time. The problem in our country is not a behavoral problem, it is a heart problem and it is as old as the world.
The church needs a new cause...A Gospel cause. We need to raise up parishioners who will be missionaries for the this great cause. As we change the heart of people with the Gospel, we will change the behavior of the people thus change the values of the people. So why are we putting so much stock into politics? Maybe the politcal shift will allow (or free up) Christians to be the church rather than just "do" church. Who needs it anyway, we have a better plan. Read your Bible!