As our Democrat friends drop their political pants, they are revealing much more than their political goals and aspirations. Consider. Even with her bright smile, good nature, and misinformed bumbling AOC has deeply hurt New Yorkers by trumpeting, if not costing, the area tens of thousands of jobs. Ilhan Omar is simply hate filled. I am well aware that in saying such I sound like some sort of old hippie – but honestly, look at the woman’s comments and demeanor and tell me I am wrong.
Then there is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. The sheer chutzpah involved in his “toughing it out” and remaining on the job reveals an abhorrent level of arrogance, all too common these days. But there is something about his particular issues that is deeply frightening. What is truly frightening is his graphic description of allowing a newborn to pass away. For several months now I have prayed daily for the newborn child of a friend, a child born unable to live without massive medical and mechanical assistance – precisely the kind of child that Gov. Northam would consider allowing to expire. As the months have progressed my prayers of intercession are transitioning to prayers of praise and thanksgiving as the child grows stronger and stronger. Thus I have been able to imagine myself having precisely the conversation that Gov. Northam proposed. That conversation imagined is frightening not because of its inherent cruelty, but because of its commonality. It is much the same conversation that the nation had in a verbal knife fight over Terri Schiavo. It is much the same conversation I had more than once regarding my mother during the last decade of her dementia impaired life. There are thousands of such conversations in this nation daily. That scares me to death.
These Democrat “reveals” are great politics if you are a Republican. And I am. It is very easy, and very tempting, to get a little too celebratory by focusing on the politics. And I have. But if we focus on a deeper level we see a nation, reflected in these elected individuals, that is deeply and massively troubled. Because the issues are, if we face them square on, much deeper than politics, so must the response be.
But when I survey America’s religious landscape, I wonder if we have a church robust enough to respond as the sad state of the nation requires. It should go without saying that only religion can respond on these deeper levels. The fact that these deeper levels are being revealed as they are is indicative of religious retreat in the nation. There has been good scholarly work done on this lack of robustness. But it is easy enough to see.
The average American church now is all about getting people in through the front door. We’ve become very, very good at it. But then what? Of course, we want them to say “Yes” to Jesus. But then what? Well, we want them to contribute to the church, and they do, but all that has happened is we have increased our efforts at bringing more bodies in through the front door. And thus I hear reasonable conversations about allowing lives to expire inside the walls of the church.
Rather than build a culture in the church where such considerations are simply known to be ill-advised, we have built a culture in the church where not only are the conversations permitted, but the actions. Somewhere, somehow our efforts at evangelism have turned into a sort of stream of inbound pollution. Lord knows I want every soul in history to know the glory of life with Christ, but the church is supposed to turn the world into the church, not allow the world to swallow the church into itself.
So as this week concludes and Sunday is upon us, we have to ask ourselves what has really been revealed of late – the state of the world or the state of the church?