Thursday, December 22, 2005

I'm Taking My Ball And Going Home

When all of us were growing up there was quite possibly an instance we can relate to. You know it well. It could have been playing street hockey, sandlot baseball, back yard soccer or basket ball. The person who brought the ball, who owns the ball, who has the privilege of calling the ball, "my ball" gets disgruntled. They may get mistreated or upset at something. Then comes those words, "I'm not playing anymore!" When the person who owns the ball doesn't get his or her own way, they take their ball and go home.

I see Christianity in America at a crisis right now. I'm not referring to the wonderful work of God that is taking place everywhere in people's hearts through the good works of God's people. I am referring to the place of privilege that some Christians think we deserve. What do I mean by that? Please allow me to share.

The Founding Fathers for the most part were believers in God. Not all of them were but based on their writings and quotes, we can assume that most of them had a faith in God. Only a complete ignoramous could try to deny that. But these noble men set in place a system of government that allowed, in a democratic republic such as ours, for the majority to rule via the vote. At this point in our history, we have a majority of Americans that are not disciples of Christ (note that I didn't say "went to church" or "believe in God"). It is not surprising that the values of our government are no longer reflecting the values of our faith. Since things have shifted.

So here we have this quandry. We have founding fathers of a nation that believed in God and probably hoped we could truly be a Christian nation. On the other hand we have a majority of the 300 million people in the United States who do not have a biblical world view, who don't display the character and lifestyle of disciples of Christ and who have a right to vote. Our culture is being molded by power brokers and politicians who simply are not Christian. For the most part, it all came about through a legitimate democratic process. I believe that many religious Christians in America are upset simply because we don't get to make the rules now. We enjoyed power and prestige and those days are simply gone now.

For Christians in America to stand up and demand that America start behaving like a Christian nation is absurd as demanding that a fish start living and acting like a monkey. We can't expect that people hold to Judeo-Christian values just because people 200 years ago did. We can't expect people to adhere to Judeo-Christian principles just because we want them to. What is so important to realize is the reason why people used to follow Judeo-Christian values. People did so because they had a faith in God. They had an experience that changed their lives and it affected everything they did.

The goal of Christians should not be of demanding that people subscribe to our belief system so we can have a Christian government or a Christian nation. It should be to do what Jesus did, and commanded us to do...go and make disciples! We don't have a Christian nation (if there can be such a thing) because there are no disciples being made anymore. Did the early church demand that the Roman government change to accomodate their Christian preferences? Of course not. Did the early Christians in effect "take their ball and go home" because they didn't get to make the rules? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, they took the opportunity to make their faith a very real, vibrant and true to life experience in their time of trouble. They had a chance to put their money where their mouths were and be real disciples regardless of what their life situation was.

I think it's time American Christianity had the same attitude. Instead of taking our ball and going home because we don't get to make the rules, let's stay in the arena and play the game. Let's practice more and become better at what we're supposed to be doing instead of demanding everyone else to change. So we may have to change the game plan. Isn't that what every great team is good at?

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