Volume 4 Issue 1
OPINION – Christianity is not just a hobby, but a life-changing force.
Our culture is experiencing serious social change that is largely anti-Christ, and in a more vicious way, anti-church. In fact, this point is so self-evident that one hardly even needs to make a case to prove it. Nevertheless, let me cite a few things mentioned in Pat Robertson’s latest book, “The Turning Tide,Trivializing Religion.” Robertson mentioned the following attacks on Christian values:
In Shreveport, LA, in 1993, a small group of parents sued the Caddo Parish school board over “Sex Respect” and another program called “Facing Reality.” They claimed teaching abstinence promotes religion, and that the statement “human reproduction has a higher meaning than animal reproduction” supports a religious view.
In Bremerton, WA, when children in a kindergarten class were invited to sing their favorite songs, one little girl began to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” The teacher stopped her, saying that songs like that aren’t allowed in school.
In Henderson, GA, students were suspended for the crime of “possession of Christian material.”
These examples are typical of an ever-growing number of incidents where our beloved nation and her bureaucratic imps are challenging the “rights” of Christians and other religions to practice their faiths and devotions, if those beliefs in any way conflict with the state.
What are all these incidents about? What are our leaders trying to do? It appears that they are making an effort to trivialize religion. This is the idea, at least, put forth by Stephen Carter in his powerful book, “The Culture of Disbelief.” Mr. Carter’s well-documented arguments present the evidence that society is saying to religious people,
“Your faith is okay, as long as you don’t allow it to become too serious.” To quote from Carter’s book,
“People who take their religion seriously, who rely on their understanding of God for a motivating force in their public and political personalities, well, ‘they’re scary people.’ Belief in God is seemingly fine with these people, as long as this belief doesn’t affect their lives.
Is God A Hobby?
All of this brings up an important consideration for us all. Are we committed to what we say we believe? Do we apply what we preach about to our actual lives? If we expect society to take us seriously, doesn’t it first require that we ourselves take what we believe seriously?
Is God a hobby, as Mr. Carter says it has become to many Americans? Is it like a model airplane club or model railroad club? You know, it’s kind of fun; you meet a lot of nice people, but we all know the planes don’t really fly, the railroad tracks just go around and around on the table top. Likewise is it possible our faith doesn’t make any real difference?
One shocking observation I can make as a pastor is this: The gap between what we’re preaching and what is actually being practiced is alarming. It’s as if many church members are saying, “Preach it, Pastor! But don’t expect us to take it seriously.”
There was a time when people sought more carefully the will of God with respect to their jobs, their marriages, or any other aspect of their lives. It’s horrifying, for example, to watch a person marry out of the faith, totally disregarding the Bible’s instructions. One has to ask,
“Did they really believe?” And what does believing mean if it’s not applied to living?
Let me conclude by asking a question: At what point does our faith become serious? Where do we draw the line in the sand and say to this world, “At this point we live or die”? What is our bedrock belief from which we will never retreat?
The Apostles put their lives on the line rather than recant their faith. Some put their heads on the chopping block, others were flayed, crucified or otherwise tortured.
Do we have this kind of faith? Are we serious? Or is this just a hobby? Are we merely professional Christians who would at any time make a deal with the enemy?
Are you prepared to say,”I can’t choose another God; I will not give up my identity, my hope, my devotion, or my new name”? It’s my feeling that Christians must reaffirm this to the world. We must show them that we are ready to die at the foot of the cross.