From Misery to Mercy to Ministry
- Monday, September 24, 2007
The verdict is in. The tired and empty promises of a generation of liberalism have left us with a vacuum of moral direction. They have killed their offspring in the abortion mills and are now left with nobody to assume their legacy and promote their humanistic message. All along, the conservative evangelical has waged a cultural war that at times appeared un-winnable. We were ridiculed, mocked, called names, and vilified for daring to take our religious convictions into the public forum for debate and consideration. I am convinced the parameters surrounding the economic boom of the 90's was a mirage. The dot-com bubble burst and the economic downturn was and still is vicious. I attribute a significant part of this as a divine judgment against a society (Christians included) who cared less about the moral character of our leaders than they did their pocketbooks. Did we really believe God would wink at this?
Then 9/11 happened and the cultural war took on a series of new questions. Do we really believe all religions are equally true? Has our theological pluralism netted us a more virtuous society? Is there more to life than the pursuit of our portfolio? Was 9/11 a divinely imposed wake-up call?
If ever there was a time when the people of America and especially in our communities need to hear a word of hope, joy, and peace it is now. In the wake of 9/11 many congregations, including our own, had standing room only crowds. For the first time since Pearl Harbor and act of war hit on American soil. As the twin towers fell a heartbroken nation sat glued to our television sets hoping someone could explain the "why" of such a senseless act. Perhaps, in the light of such carnage, we might find an answer in our faith. Was it an act of God's judgment on a nation steeped in materialism and self-absorption? Maybe the preachers could explain why the extreme Muslim world hates us so much?
In the aftermath of that horrific and infamous day, as the memory of falling buildings faded into the cleanup, the masses once again disappeared from their search for an intimate God and reverted back to mowing their lawns and taking the Sunday trip to their favorite respite spots. To their thinking the crisis had passed and God was no longer needed. Perhaps even the church failed to provide the answers they so craved. Across America the truth of the Gospel of Christ gave way to an eclectic form of a new religion, a religion where gleanings of truth from all of the world's great religions could be married into one of tolerance, love, and acceptance of others. The claims Christ made to be the God of all creation mattered little. To some religionists He was a great prophet while to others he was an example of love or simply a mere man. The sad part is that he is none of these things if he is not who he said he was – the eternal God of all creation.
As people once again come to us with furrowed brows stained with the crust of fear and worry they must see in us hope and love. Our God is a Sovereign God and He can be trusted. He is the One Who holds in His hand the governments of the world. Once again we stand in the jaws of war; a just war where a tyrant and a religious extremist bent on the destruction of anything remotely resembling the Judeo-Christian worldview is referred to as the western infidel.
What should our response be to the threat of "shock and awe" against a nation the size of California? I would be hard pressed to find justification to support those who march in the streets in protest of our nation's war against this tyrant given the massive well-documented reports of torture and murder ordered by him against those who dare to criticize his politico-religious rule. Many newscasts reported, albeit as almost an afterthought, that some who dared to criticize or demonstrate against Saddam were publicly beaten, tied to a tree, their tongues cut out, and left there to bleed to death as an example to others who were thinking about doing the same.
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