17 January 2011

False religiousity

It seems our culture can use everything for spiritual guidance but God as in Jesus.I read some articles lately that talk about pursuing happiness. I noticed a quote from Dante in an article - he wrote that your pleasure will guide you. We speak much of tolerance and equality in our current culture, and it seems we will tolerate everything but any sort of "one true" God definition - especially if it relates to Christianity.

I understand that it is not unreasonable to take solace or be encouraged by other ideas beyond Christianity. Our current day level of learning and information does have a lot to offer,  but those other ideas have become God. We have substitued serving Jesus with feel good speak especially in society at large. People who have not embraced Jesus have embraced a spirituality that has no roots in a tangible belief structure or maybe it is a melange of all belief structures but leaves out Jesus-as-God-who-wants-to-save-us-from-ourselves.  We are turning ourselves into our own resource. The danger is that it removes the everyday mundane from our spirituality. We don't have to apply that vague spirituality to the mundane aspects of life because it is centered around us, ourselves.

Two things recently had such deeply Jesus-God spiritual language that would have been normal and accepted in the culture in which it occurred. One was Martin Luther King Jrs' I have a dream speech. He quoted scripture and used hymns in his speech. No one cried out about separation of church and state and no one said what is he talking about? In True Grit there was a level of spiritual talk that was normal and everyone knew what they were talking about. That didn't mean they all obeyed God or served him but the idea was the divine God was there, they all knew it and no one was redefining who that "God" might be.

We don't culturally know who God is anymore. Do people recognize the spiritual references in everyday speech? No, you can have whatever kind of spirituality you want and that's okay.  We are inventing anything else to take the place of Jesus-God and calling it spirituality.

In the church we are trying to worry about that generic spirituality and appealing to that rather than sticking to the facts of Jesus. I can be guilty of this too. I have worried about relevance to culture when trying to think how to present Jesus, rather than pure honesty.

Here is an article for Christians (Link to article) that is very thought provoking on what living in Jesus really means for ourselves and the church. It isn't always very appealing in a personal benefits way - at least as our culture views it. Ultimately, Jesus saves us rescues us from ourselves and challenges us to live with him in mind first before ourselves. A high bar that is hard, not easy. The challenges are real but I'm glad I've chosen the Jesus-God version of spirituality.

1 comment:

  1. He is right that there's a real danger in overemphasizing the spiritual and underemphasizing the sacrificial and relational. I love the beginning and middle of the article. I have to give more thought to the conclusion.

    There are indeed grave dangers in the struggle to be relevant. If the meat of the Gospel is sacrificed in order to be relevant, than the sacrifice is not worth it.