This is the best article I’ve read this summer because it reminds me so much of the summers of my youth.
Home plate was a grassy patch behind our house. From there, the fence in center field measured the same as the fence in left and right — about triple the length of our clothesline. That’s how it is, you see, when the outfield fence is a chain-link fence that separates the back yard from the alley. Behind the fence were our trash cans, the color of silver turned rust. They stood alongside the crumbled concrete where the noisy garbage truck would pass. Weeds would stand up to its wheels. Beyond the weeds were the neighbor’s trash cans, and chain-link, and back yard with the dogs.
I’m listening to Apple Music’s Christian radio station. It is, one after the other, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend and Jesus-is-my-therapist songs.
Just like KLove.
It’s obvious to me, as I listen to music and sermons at church each week, as I read my newsfeed, as I listen to streaming Christian music, that we are given over nearly 100% to MTD — Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
Moralistic – God wants people to be good. Good people get to go to heaven when they die.
Therapeutic – Our goal is to be healthy, happy, and to feel good about ourselves.
Deism – God created the world and watches it run. He really doesn’t need to be involved with us unless we need help with a problem.
That’s about the extent of our religion and our involvement with God.
The sermons I hear are about how God can change your life. You just need to say some words and get dunked. The “worship” songs aren’t about God; they are about me. God is a peripheral character.
We are told every Sunday that Jesus is the answer to every question. But we never hear about what the questions are.
I would like to hear one single sermon on the strenuous and fraught road of discipleship to Jesus. Or one prayer that isn’t a call for help for some personal or medical problem. Or one song that points to Jesus, the King.
I’m not advocating for walled communities of Christians living in fear of the big, bad areligious soccer mom wearing yoga pants. I am saying that you cannot both live in a civilization barreling towards a societal cliff and be unwilling to point that fact out to people. You cannot look down your nose at people who want to build a network of families who pray and live together and also hold yourself blameless for where our society is headed as you sit there silently effecting no change.
The task of the church is a modest one: to wait, pray and hope for the coming of the kingdom, to witness to and acclaim God’s redeeming and sanctifying work; but the church must never confuse its work with God’s work or its righteousness with divine righteousness. The church can create parables and signs of the kingdom, but it cannot extend or fortify the kingdom through its own power and strategy.
— Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1997), 243.