I’ve been a cultural christian. It’s a miserable life because it is all about worldly benefits in the here and now. It’s about what I think I deserve in this life based on my performance. It’s a modern blueprint for becoming a whitewashed tomb because it’s all about my glory and comfort.
I don’t want self-centered religion.
I don’t want politically labeled religion.
I don’t want to fight a culture war.
I don’t want a religion centered on an unbiblical notion of saving this country for my personal comfort.
The American church has embraced a national salvation by works by assuming the promises to Israel also apply to our nation. We have traded the kingdom of Jesus for kneeling at the alter of the United States. We wrapped our bibles in the American flag so tightly we believe whatever we are told it says by our pastors who seem to be living in the same fear we are of losing the culture war and therefore our “favored” status.
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12 ESV)
We have gotten so accustomed to parenting and preaching based on fear and shame that we’ve hidden grace as if it’s of little importance when grace is the whole point. Fear and shame do not bring about heart change. Only grace can change hearts.
Following Jesus Christ is not about going to church on Sunday, watching Fox News, listening to conservative/Christian talk radio, and listening to K-Love. It’s about serving. It’s about loving others as you are loved by the creator of the universe. It’s about telling others about the freedom found in Jesus which is so much greater and more beautiful than the American Dream. It’s about peace and joy in the midst of devastating illness, loss, and disappointments. It’s about knowing that we are treasured beyond comprehension and our lives have purpose and meaning by and for the glory of God.
It’s not about checklists and rules and appearances. It’s about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. He kept all the rules. He paid the price. He alone gives us the only real freedom there is. Freedom from our self-centered natures. Freedom to love. Freedom to really live regardless of circumstances.
I don’t want to be a whitewashed tomb.