Thursday, January 14, 2016

Counting the Cost of American Christianity

A Sacramento attorney representing forty-one plaintiffs, has filed a lawsuit demanding the removal of the phrase "In God We Trust," from all United States currency.

Go ahead, suck your teeth, shake your head, post an American flag on Facebook; do all those things we do when we hear or read of our nation's "Christian foundation" eroding. Moment over? Good. Let's begin.

I don't mean to make light of our evaporating Christianity in this country, but I want each of us to get past that moment. That moment when we feel some sort of contempt for atheists exercising their civil rights. That moment when we mumble to ourselves some quaint idiom about hell and hand baskets. I want us to see this for what it is.

First of all, our founding fathers... blah, blah, blah. We all know they "founded our country on biblical principles." Or did they? You know, they made a lot of mistakes if that was the case. If this country was meant to embrace only biblical principles, why did we allow every Tom, Dick and Harry seeking religious and political asylum, to cross our borders? My family would not be here today if they had not found safety from exile on the other side of America's open doors. That is the biblical principle our founding fathers embraced: Charity. Up to and including people who did not think as they did, did not speak as they did, did not worship as they did.

Secondly, 2 Chronicles 7:14. C'mon, you know the verse. It was the battle cry of many a church and Christian foundation in 1976, and has been sufficiently resurrected since a "liberal, illegal, Muslim" Democrat entered office almost eight years ago. Let me try to make this as simple as possible: If I told Olivia, "If you will bring up your grades and help around the house, I will buy you a new pair of Converse." To whom would that conditional promise apply? Olivia, right? Now, one could argue it should, or even could apply to any of my daughters. But in no way would it apply to my neighbor's daughters. And if Olivia did not perform as my promise required, Olivia would not receive my blessing (Converse). 2 Chronicles 7:14 was a conditional promise to Israel, not the United States or any other nation. But it says, "my people," and as Christians, we are grafted into the kingdom of God, His church; we are His people. As Christians; not as Americans. So, if God's people will humble themselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from -- Wait! Turn from our wicked ways! What wicked ways? Let me suggest a few: complacency, selfishness, laziness, disobedience. Had enough? Brothers and Sisters, if we had spent the last two hundred+ years talking to those who do not know Jesus -- whom God has brought right to our workplaces and schools and neighborhoods, instead of bellyaching like a bunch of five year-olds who've had their playground "invaded" by toddlers; if we'd been praying as faithfully and as many times a day as our Muslim citizens, instead of eliminating stuffy old prayer meetings and luring "the world" into our churches with uber-cool coffee houses; if we'd been reaching out to the poor and loving justice instead of looking to Uncle Sam to do what we've been commanded; if we'd been running for public office and filling the polls on election day, instead of twisting up the separation of church and state as badly as we believe the Supreme Court has...well, we'd have as "healed" o' land as we could get in this lifetime.

Believers, the responsibility falls on us. The charity of our founding fathers has brought the masses to our front door. How many pastors do you know dream of this sort of thing on a Sunday morning? Like shootin' fish in a barrel, right? So how have the fish gotten away?! Think back to the days before you walked with the Lord. Did the four words printed on the bills in your wallet mean anything to you? Tradition? Patriotism? Maybe you didn't even notice them. Why do they mean so much to you now? Because they are an affirmation of what you believe now. And as passionately as you identify with those words, others reject them. They have no idea what it means to serve a God who is perfect and righteous, infinitely loving and sovereign. They have no idea what it's like to trust Someone you can.

Have you told them? Have they seen Him in you?

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