Gut Check #3



Have you ever wondered if you've naturally (through cultural osmosis) fallen into a lifestyle that is antithetical to real, vibrant Christianity?

And worse, you're not sure how to change or you don't grasp what a more godly lifestyle looks like in America 2006?


Be an iconoclast! Shatter the illusion!Right now, this is a big struggle for me. I think the lifestyle most Christian Americans lead is contrary to the Gospel, no matter how much we plead that this is "a Christian nation." We look too much like the world, have been seduced by systems that destroy us spiritually, and are unwilling to fight against that tyranny, instead making peace by Christianizing things that harm our souls.

Yet breaking out of that Darwin-inspired nightmare will prove costly. Smashing systems always is. We might lose everything but Christ. Yet isn't that what He says must occur if we are to truly find the narrow path that leads to glory?

Something's gotta change. Christians once were iconoclasts. What are we now?

{Image: Still from Apple Computer's "1984" ad} 


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23 thoughts on “Gut Check #3

  1. I think about these issues all the time. As a woman who has moved with her husband and family into living in intentional Christian community, I’ve been coming to realize that the heightened individualism of American Christianity has been highly detrimental. If we continue to see the work of God through our individual lens, not the lens of God’s vision for our communities and the world He has created, our vision will remain myopic and extremely skewed. And we will continue to search for churches based on their coffee bars, literal and metaphorical.

    The recent addiction to politcal power has been highly detrimental as well, considering we follow a God who allowed the powers that be to nail Him to a cross. We have placed our confidence in man, and made our litmus tests wealth, power and personal fulfillment.

  2. While it’s almost a year old, the painful realization of my own worldliness is along these same lines, i.e., being conformed to the world of Christendom. The post is called “Losing My Way“; following is a short excerpt.

    “I was an atheist and a nihilist, finding no basis or sense in the morals and values of the culture. If tomorrow we die, why not eat, drink, and be merry? Why spend so much time trying to ‘do something with my life’?

    “I was Koheleth with a bong. I stayed stoned for more than five years, usually all day every day. I liked my life and the rejection of culture for which it stood. I didn’t make much money but it was more than enough. I had all I wanted and wanted all that I had. I travelled light.

    “Then came Christ; on His heels, like a spiritual carpetbagger, came Christendom.”

  3. The culture on Paul’s day was more hostile toward Christianity then ours is – in some ways it is because of our clinging to the notion that “this is a Christian nation” that brings us to the point of morality instead of Christianity, doing the right thing instead of being the right things.

    • Ellen,

      The acceptance of Christian morality, but without Christ, has been a plague on this country since it started and has led us into the very mess you describe. Natural Law and Christianity are not the same, and share only a very slight intersection.

      • AlieraKieron

        I often think that our notions of “personal responsibility” are also part of the problem, especially as is (sorry!) espoused by the right. When we right off the suffering of so many others as part and parcel of their “personal responsibility” we violate the second of the Two Commandments.

  4. Ekval

    Again, this is a great question Dan. I’ve also had this feeling of late. Since I left my ministry, and have had massive marriage problems of late (my fault, not hers), I’ve realized that I am in “go with the flow” mode. I still “do church” and pray often, but what it really seems that I’m living my life for is that “American dream” thing that is so prevalent, even in our churches.

    We say that we live for Christ, but he is really just a side plate. The main course is getting that bigger house, better car, better job etc. I am so empty when I am pursuing those things. But I am so sure that these are the things that my wife wants, so like a coward, I go after them.

    I’m hoping that seeing this echo of my own pain here might give me some of the courage to actually confront these things and see if something can’t be changed.

    As an aside, thanks so much for not just hitting on doctrinal things or retreading a lot of stuff that we see on other blogs. Love the practical and yet Godly approach you do here. Your site is one of the few that I think is beneficial in the blogosphere.

    • This comment got me thinking about the whole “either/or” thing that seems to crop up among we believers… It’s usually written between the lines… and not very blatant… (sometimes it is) – but, there is this mindset out there that you either totally live for Christ (which means completely denying the pleasures of life) OR you totally DENY Christ (which means you fully enjoy everything life has to offer without ever giving Christ a second look.) In other words – if you live for Christ, you sacrifice ALL ELSE. I don’t think this is what the Bible teaches – it’s not “either/or” it’s “plus/and” meaning, we follow Christ and live as He did – interact with people as HE did – serve and love and enjoy and fellowship as HE did… it is a total picture of God’s plan for our lives. Anyone who truly follows Christ knows where the lines are – we’re not dumb! If you THINK you have an idol-istic view of a boat or job or money, etc. then you probably do! But, it is ALSO possible to enjoy those things and still remain a follower of Christ. The issue is not one of “stuff” but one of “allegiance.”

  5. bob

    Take a topic , say, casual divorce, church vs world. In Hindu India divorce less than one percent. but here in Christian America……

    When my wife and I fought I fantasized about divorce and started pursuing the process. But the Bible kept stopping me. I’d read Corinthians looking for loopholes; couldn’t find them! After much refining, things are much better now.

  6. Heather

    Praise the Lord! My dad, who once considered becoming a minister and who has lived on the fact that once he had read the Bible thru three times, divorced my mother 4 years ago, after 27 years of marriage. I wish he had gone back to the Bible as he often quoted all the wrong bits, sure that God was on his side. Keep ono searching His Word and He will keep you where He wants you.

  7. Heather

    I think the majority of mature Christians are looking at this, which is good. In fact, our pastor recently began a series on Revalation which has taken on this same issue. As Christians, in order to e in the world but not of it, we must constantly be keeping this in balance. It is very easy to let things slide, especially if we start comparing ourselves to others instead of to Him and His Word. How often are we like our children, who when corrected, point at their siblings and say, “But they did it too!” Instead, we are to keep Christ as our North, keeping our focus on Him. Only then can we keep from sliding into the worlds way of doin things.

  8. I think I must be misunderstanding the question, because I have a different answer than many of the commenters…my answer is no.

    It probably comes from spending my childhod in a third world country, being homeschooled, raised in a christian family, and then confined to a basement that gives me such a confidence that I have not allowed myself to have a “fake” christianity through influence of the culture.

    But that doesn’t seem like something relying solely on my background, although it does influence it.

    I think a lot of it just comes from being different, and being ok with that. If there is something in my life that would make me “different” but would glorify God more, I do it…because I want to. I don’t mean I have everything down pat, but the willingness is there and the change is made whenever my Lord gives the word.

    I am frankly a bit perplexed and cannot help but wonder if there is something wrong with such confidence….such faith. I cannot bring myself to the point of doubting it because I KNOW it….I know Him.

    Hmm, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense…ahh well. =P

  9. Anonymous

    Wow! Where do I start?

    I’ll discuss two areas where I struggle with this. The first area is how I, and much of the church, judges one’s success as a Christian by wealth and power. And because I have not succeeded in the wordly sense while living in an area where wealth and power are valued even in the church, I feel like I have failed, even though I know the Scriptures say otherwise.

    The other area I’ll discuss is sexual morality. I have stumbled badly here and have tried to excuse it in various ways even though the Scriptures give us no excuse. Nor am I alone; I’m no longer shocked about what I hear when I frankly discuss this subject with other Christians who also struggle. I sometimes feel as if there’s no hope even though I have prayed and sought godly counsel and help.

    Dan, thank you for giving us a forum to discuss these matters.

  10. I think this is the defining question of American Christianity, and one that has been a struggle for mature christians for as long as there has been safety in numbers. When there is a large group of people who believe, more or less, the same thing, how do you define different? And when a whole body begins to veer from the path, how does one correct the line of travel? The old testement is full of descriptions of that very thing, and is also full of how the body is corrected by God and set on the path again. We do not need to turn 180 degrees to be going the wrong way…One degree off of true will get us just as lost. What is interesting is that, for a people so concerned with synchrotism, evangelical christians have erred just as badly.

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