Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: What Does America Really Need From Christians?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Does America Really Need From Christians?

I have found myself lately acquiring a increased interest in the world of the American government and how Christians are to fulfill their destiny of living a Christ-filled life in that arena. As a general rule, I hate politics. I have always stayed a step away from all the name calling, dirt throwing, debate inducing world of the political sphere. But, through a few recent issues that were called to my attention, I have paid more attention to the political climate than normal.

In doing that, I am faced with an interesting dilemma. I have been in church all my life. I have been in full time church ministry for 7 years. Without fail, whenever the nation is faced with a heated issue that threatens the way Christians, in particular Southern Baptists for me, understand their view of what this country should be, I hear the same sermon. It has been preached at least a million times. It goes something like this: We Christians must take the charge as an army of God to turn America back to God, to return to the roots of our ancestors and founding fathers, and to secure Christianity as the religion of the United States of America.

Now, personally, that sounds great to me. I have no problem with any of that. But, it seems that I might be taking too great of a leap to place my religious faith as the standard, or sanction for the entire country. To do so threatens the very freedom that allows me to worship Christ.

A former religion professor of mine, Dr. Mike Ruffin, has recently published an article in which he addresses these concerns. He writes, "I believe that no thinking person could possibly be serious about wanting our nation to officially endorse or sanction religious practice from any perspective. Such efforts have never gone well. God is God and God will help any people who turn to him, but people who attempt to speak for God are not always careful enough about guarding their hearts and remembering that they are fallible sinners. I believe that there is a difference between guarding against state-sponsored religion on the one hand and attempting to remove God from the public sphere on the other. Perhaps our courts are too willing to attempt to remove God from the public sphere; perhaps some other folks are too willing to try out a state-sponsored religion."

So, therein lies the problem. Where does the faithful Christian find the proper balance? I believe with all my heart that we should not merely sit on the sidelines and let other people decided the moral and spiritual climate of the country. On the other hand, we face a danger of moving too far in the other direction by becoming comfortable, or even believing that the USA should become narrowly linked to solely the Christian faith. So what do we do? First of all, we should vote. I have zero sympathy for any Christian who rants about the condition of the country who is not an active, registered voter. But secondly, and more importantly, we should act like Christians. We should be excited about our salvation in Christ Jesus in a way that is contagious. We should work on our relationships and increase our love and patience with one another. We should place ourselves in service to God in a way that paints a picture with beautiful colors to the nation, rather than a picture of hate and contempt. What does America need from Christians? This country needs us to live every day, even the seemingly most unimportant days, with a zeal for the example, compassion and love of Jesus Christ.


Blogger Barry said...

I firmly believe that if all Christians in this country acted like Christians ("do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.") all, or most, of the problems with morality and church and religion will take care of themselves. It just requires us taking control of our own lives and spiritual walks, not taking control of others'. Once we start living life and relating to our brothers the way Jesus said we should, we won't have to worry about "turning America back to God" or "returning to the roots of our ancestors" - because we'll already be there.

It's a personal, not a political problem and everyone who thinks they need to look outward for a solution in truth needs to look inward.

January 24, 2006 9:26 AM  

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