Thursday, May 05, 2005

Temporomandibular Dysfunction

I often wonder about the state of our culture and nation. Without a doubt we are the richest and most powerful country that the world has ever seen. Favorable geographic and geologic circumstances imbued with 19th, 20th and 21st century technology have assisted the U.S. in producing wealth, health, growth, and military might beyond anything ever before produced. A computer projecting our future from a statistical model programmed with data back to 1776 might blow its processor in predicting forecasted expectations.

Even under these circumstances much of our population is afflicted by a serious case of angst. Since few of us have experienced life a hundred years ago or have lived in present day third-world situations, this amorphous anxiety seems irrational. After all, how many of us have gone without food or water for days or had absolutely no place to shelter us?

The modernist promises of utopia via science and technology have not been fulfilled. Health, wealth, growth, and military strength have not alleviated human fears. In attempting to flip the coin, post-modern, relativist promotions have done little but deconstruct the trembling foundations laid by tradition and, in their places, have left man in self-created solitary confinement.

Despite the cornucopia of ‘stuff and things’ as well as amusements, far too many still vociferously proclaim that life sucks and America sucks. Actually, the correct translation is, ‘God sucks.’ "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15, NIV)

There actually is a very good reason for extreme angst. Man, created by God and in His image, must eventually give account to Him for every thought, word, and deed. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:21-32, NIV)

So, in spite of all the blessings that have been bestowed upon this nation, there remains an insecurity that manifests in numerous ways. Many gifts do not prove the established favor of or quality relationship with the giver. “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, `Who is the LORD?'” (Proverbs 30:9a, NIV)

This nation was established by men who regularly sought God through prayer, fasting, and incredible steps of faith. However, along with the decades of amassed wealth came the disowning of the God who blessed us. Today, it is the official doctrine of our government that God and his requirements are unwelcomed and even denied.

Often the description of a nation under God’s judgment seems to depict a society of a similar nature to that of Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin. Undoubtedly, that is sometimes the case, but not always. Persons living within these societies seldom recognized themselves within the prophet’s pronouncements of condemnation. They were deceived in thinking that they were a good people and deserved God’s blessing.

“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says'--when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.” (Ezek. 22:26-29) What might these circumstances look like? Could this be a present description of our nation? Since we live within it, it may sound ludicrous to even question it since it seems so normal to us. However, with the official national decree that God is unconstitutional in public affairs...

It may be argued that the Scripture above deals with Israel and doesn’t apply to the U.S. Israel had a covenant relationship with God; they witnessed His many miracles; they were given the Law; God spoke through their prophets; they had His temple. Small potatoes. This nation was founded by believers in the crucified and risen Messiah and has a Bible in every hotel room. What excuse have we?

Even a casual outside observer could see that this society is awash with and revels in rejection of God and His absolute truth, illicit sexual behaviors, glorification of violence, and rabid pursuit of all things material. Even much of the verbiage from modern pulpits in the name of Christ comes from a heart of unbelief.

More and more, Christians are speaking out in opposition to many of the tortuous turns taken in our culture. The election of 2004 has received countless assessments as to the weight thrown by traditional, family-valued Christians.

Although there is nothing wrong with Christian political action per se, it is only a short term, stop-gap tactic and doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17, NIV) There is no successful substitute for the pure devotion to Christ and faithful obedience to His word. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mat. 6:33, NIV) “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6b, ESV)

While considering political action or public outcry, members of the Body of Christ, the Church, need to contemplate its own worship, prayer life, Scripture study, and love for fellow believers.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Heb. 13:15, NIV) “But you say, 'What a weariness this is,' and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord.” (Malachi 1:13, ESV) “When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 1:8 (ESV)

If the Church pursues its prescription for life, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11:6, NIV), perhaps God will forestall any possible destructive judgment that He may have planned. But even if He doesn’t...
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
(Hab. 3:17, 18, NIV)

7 comments:

ron said...

The world Bank has over the last two weeks just announced that the U.S. economy has peaked. In looking at the stagnant stock marketwhich has not risen above it's peak of somwhere in the 11000 to 12000 range since 1997 I have but one thing to say. No Jesus no prosparity. Since we Christians appear to be unable to get prayer back in school and to stem the tide of the removal of biblical values from our public institutions....well unless we do then this nation shall go down.

Al said...

I'm going to write you a Song of the Lazy Blogger.

Steve said...

But, I have several in queue.

Lance Burri said...

Boy it seems like I've read this before.

Steve said...

I learned that line from you, Lance.

David Kear said...

I disagree with the comment "no Jesus no prosperity". The doctrine of common grace dictates that God causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. There are many examples in history of prosperous nations that were pagan or at the very least non-christian.

It amazes me that we as Christians are concerned now about getting prayer back in school. When the fact remains that we gave up institutions like schools long ago. Just look at the areas that we have allowed no, caused to be socialized. Schools, retirement, charity (welfare). My meaning is that these institutions should not be public in the first place.

Thanks for allowing the short rant.

Cool blog by the way.

Al said...

I gotta check out this Kear guy!