Christians in our changing world

Their religion no longer sustains them.

The society of their youth has vanished. Their simple theology is nearly worthless in a complex and changing world.

They are afraid. In their fear they lash out at “others.” Liberals, immigrants, judges who share their views much of the time, women, government, gays, fellow Christians, other religions, the educated, media.

Others.

Everyone who isn’t them.

Their fear is fanned by pandering politicians and poisonous preachers peddling panic and paranoia.

They adopt an attitude of victimhood and then mock and marginalize true victims.

They demand the right to withhold rights from others.

Their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren see their hypocrisy and fear and are streaming out of churches.

Faith that should comfort or support them is absent, because their core understanding of Christianity is flawed.

They don’t understand the teachings of Jesus.

They dismiss the example and message of Jesus to focus on a twentieth century, English translation of individual verses.

They say things like:

“Yes, Jesus said to love each other, but . . . “

And:

“God’s Word says . . .”

And my personal least favorite:

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

I have a friend with a perfect response:

“Yes, the Bible says that, but Jesus.”

No matter what people say, the answer is Jesus.

There are problems and difficulties in the world? Yes, Jesus.

Jesus offers redemption, transformation, salvation. The grace of God is found in the life, message and spirit of Jesus.

Why spend time and energy talking about anything else?

Jesus is the Good News. We should focus on the solution, not the problems.

The Spirit of God is all around us, and they focus on petty processes and fears of others.

Their misguided focus shows that their worldview limits their understanding of Jesus and God.

They think of God like this

photo 2

They have difficulty understanding this is God

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Sometimes they see God here

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They don’t recognize God here

And they really have trouble seeing God here

Living God in Creation

They see the face of Jesus in their mirrors but seldom see it in the face of others.

Their understanding of God is like looking at a video of the ocean and thinking they are swimming. And so they don’t understand people who are soaking wet, the messiness of seawater and sand, or the rich diversity that lives beneath the waves.

When you believe the message of Jesus is about judgment, sin, and salvation, then you see the world from that perspective. You’re judging, you’re seeing sin and you expect others to seek the salvation you think you have –

– and miss the overall intent of Jesus.

Their theology, created less than 100 years ago, tells them they will be persecuted for their beliefs. So they hear criticism and disagreement and conflate and confuse it with persecution, which only reinforces their misunderstanding of scripture, because –

Their religion no longer sustains them.

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