Monday, July 03, 2006

Beyond the Rituals:Letting God Reign in Our Lives

“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you’ll not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”—Jesus

In a culture being lulled to sleep by mediocrity, passivity, acceptance, political correctness, moderation and tolerance Jesus would be considered an intolerant radical fanatic:

He ran the money changers out with a whip – "Intolerant, rage-aholic!"
In essence, He told the rich ruler, “My way or the highway.” – "Narrow. Extremist."
“I am THE way, THE truth, THE life..” – "Who does He think He is!? God?"
“You have sins and I’ll forgive them.” – "Holier-than-thou. Judgemental."
“If you don’t repent ,you’ll not be forgiven” – "Militant, hateful bigot!"
“If anyone wants to follow me he must deny himself” – "Radical right-wing conservative."
“You preachers are in it for yourselves.” (Matthew 11:45ff) – "Meddler!"
“Don’t worry about the bills, refuse to cook the books and trust God.” (Matthew 12) – "Naïve. Idealistic."
He said, “God gave one man 5 talents and another he only gave 1 talent.” – "Republican!"
He said, “God gave talents.” – "Democrat!"
He said, “God.”"Christian!!"

If not literally, then essentially, Jesus would have been “nailed” today for his positions.

Watching over 6000 Christians come through our place during the past ten years, I’ve been saddened and actually become somewhat worried. I'm especially worried about the youth.

The majority lack the independent spirit of Jesus. They follow the crowd, stay in the pack, do what everyone else is doing, take their bottles of spiritual milk and go play church. They lack holy defiance. They lack vision. There is little or no personal motivation, much conformity.

They’ve settled for goodness when they should have sought fire. They have a fondness for Christ, not passion. Though spiritually well-fed they have no strength. They are surrounded with God-stuff yet self remains at the center. They are polite, but not pure. They are acceptable not radical. There is knowledge, but no resolve; an eagerness to serve the poor, but little sense of man’s lostness. I do not see Christ formed or forming in them; instead, I see the righteousness of the Pharisees. I wish I saw more of that intolerant, fanatical, raging Meddler who went against the tide, died for it, and shook the world awake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steve, it's oddly comforting to read these thoughts from you, a man I respect and for whose family feel great fondness. (But it wasn't comfort you were going for, was it?)

I am reminded, challenged, bolstered, and provoked, too, so not all is lost. ;-)

Brian Casey
Greeley, CO