Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How did we get here?

I’m taking a short break from writing on ethical consumerism to post this, at my husbands urging. After I mentioned this in another post, I started writing, and just finished. I hope you are inspired, or at least challenged. Please, let me know what you think.

How did we get here? It seems as though we’ve taken so many steps to the side, we must go backward, to find where we veered off. Yes, to retrace our steps and move backward is the best option for us now. To come to the place where we first lost our way, and continue in the appropriate direction from there.
Walking through church history of the decades 2000-2010, 1990-1999, 1980-1989, How have we reached where we are? Yes! Good things happened. Yes! God moved. No, it wasn’t a waste, but why does our generation look so shabby compared to Faith’s Champions of yester year?

Where are the spiritual disciplines? Where has forgiveness gone? Where is temperance?

I’m speaking in reference to second and third generation Christians. Those whose parents or grandparents were saved from lives of obvious sin, and needed severe lifestyle changes. I’m speaking of the people that have “always been saved” the ones who said the “sinners prayer” at age 4. The ones whose earliest memories are playing in the church nursery, and can fluently speak Christianese on demand, or even worse, don’t even know when their speaking Christianese. Why do we look the way we do? The real question is, where is your mark? How can one tell that you are sanctified?

(sanc·ti·fy [sángktə f]
(past and past participle sanc·ti·fied, present participle sanc·ti·fy·ing, 3rd person present singular sanc·ti·fies)
1. make something holy: to give something holy status
2. free somebody from sin: to perform a ritual or other act intended to free somebody from sin
3. bless something through religious vow: to give a religious blessing to something such as a marriage, usually through an oath or vow sanctified the marriage
4. officially approve something: to give social, moral, or official approval to something
rules sanctified by tradition
5. make something route to holiness: to make something a means of achieving holiness or a source of grace )

Simpler put, where is holiness?

God is into symbolism, just look at the scriptures and you’ll soon see, God likes symbols. He likes there to be illustrations for things, He likes parables, He likes signs and marks. What better sign or symbol of the presence of Jesus in our lives, than a life transformed? If the life of a “believer” remains untransformed, if the life of a “believer” continues to look the same as the life of an “unbeliever” then one has to ask, “is Jesus actually present in the life of the ‘believer’ at all?”.

My parents, and the parents of many of my friends, became Christians during the “Jesus people” movement in the ‘70’s. The “Jesus people” were a part of another movement, the “Holiness movement.” As far as I can tell, it pretty much went like this, “We read what the Bible has to say about how we live, and then, to the best of our ability, we live that way.” (otherwise known as obedience.) That’s how a movement should be. Simple.

I’m not saying that obeying is a simple thing to do, I am saying that the concept of holiness is simple. But in order to obey God, you have to know what He is asking, commanding and requiring of you. In order to know this, you have to know what He says in the Bible.

I want to live in such a way that someone, anyone, can tell that Jesus is why I live the way I do. I want to live different from the common man. Not in a way that makes those who were burned by the church cringe, or in a way that people think “great, someone else to judge me.” But in a truly Christ like way - in love and compassion, in truth and confidence, in forgiveness and understanding. In a way that God has asked me to. In a way of obedience. I want to live a holy life.

Can anyone else sense something coming? It’s like a big wave, or a wind, a storm, a rain cloud, something is coming, something new. It’s almost here. Something is stopping it. Has there been a great movement since the ’70’s? Like I said before, yeah, plenty of good has happened since then, but I mean a real movement. Has there been an environment changing movement in the past few decades? I don’t think so.


My theory is this: As the children of those who were a part of the “holiness movement” grew older, we began to rebel against the ways our parents did things. We saw this “holiness” as traditionalism, we saw it as prudish, and judgmental. In an attempt to create our own movement we entered the areas of “grace and freedom.” As a whole, we began drinking to the point of drunkenness, we stopped listening to moral and edifying music and began filling our homes with profanity, we started focusing more on “self” and stopped caring, we stopped heeding the law and started smoking marijuana, we had sexual relations with people who were not our spouses, we let profanity flow from our lips and let bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness reside in our souls. We let every manner of sin become a part of our daily lives. All in the name of “grace and freedom.” This is what we embraced, this is what we even took so far as to call a movement of God. This is the church. And this is what’s kept the “new” from coming.

We must go backward. To the placed we veered off. Yes, to retrace our steps and move backward is the best option for us now. To come to the place where we first lost our way, and continue in the appropriate direction from there. We must choose to live a life of holiness. We must raise our children in not just good behavior but in the way of holiness, and obedience to God. We must live a life that’s imitating Christ. We must earnestly search the scriptures and let our lives reflect it.

Then, I think, we’ll be in a place where God is free to let the new things come. So live in a way that the new can come. Do it for our children. Do it for the church. Do it for the rest of the world that needs to see Jesus the way He is, and not the way we’ve been portraying Him. Do it for your soul. Do it for the One who asked you to do it in the first place, the One who loved you so much that in order to be with you forever, chose to die in your place.

This is where I was going to put a scripture to back my point, when I realized, my point is backing scripture.

All: of-it

A man walks into a party, he’s very late. “sorry I’m late,” he says “I was hit and run over by a semi-truck on the way here, it messed me up pretty bad.” “No you weren’t” said the host. “How do you know? You can’t judge me like that” replied the guest “You weren’t there, you wouldn’t know!” “Well“ returned the host, “No one can actually have an encounter with something that big , and not be changed. If you were truly run over by a semi-truck, we’d know, because you would look like you were.” (my own morphed version - original story told by Paul Washer)


just me. said...

Thanks for posting this. you have a beautiful mind. a helpful mind.

Erin said...

“Maybe the greatest threat to the church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms.” -Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Anonymous said...

I agree with the archbishop. People nowadays are not willing to sacrifice anything for God. They want to believe in Him and not give up thier sinful lifestyle. The want to have thier cake and eat it to. I personally believe that we got to this point because we strayed away from the tradional values and standards. No one wants to be different anymore. Thanks for posting.